Spin Control

Tanker bids this summer?

The Air Force should be releasing the draft version sometime in May of its "request for proposal" on a new aerial refueling tanker.

That's one of the things Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers and members of the Greater Spokane Inc. delegation learned during their visit to the Pentagon today.

In a telephonic press conference this afternoon, McMorris Rodgers said Air Force officials said a new tanker, refered to as the KC-X, "remains the No. 1 priority." They expect to award the contract, worth an estimated $35 billion, in the first half of 2010.

Talk of a new tanker has been bandied about since 2001, and has gone through several missteps, miscues and mess-ups. Some were the fault of Congress, others, the fault of the military.

"They recognize there have been some misstakes made," McMorris Rodgers said.

The latest iteration has some powerful members of Congress suggesting the Air Force split the deal between Boeing and Norhrop-Grumman-Airbus, to avoid the Texas death match the two airplane manufacturers are locked in. . .

Pentagon officials told the GSI delegation that decision "is up to Congress." They remain unenthusiastic about that option.

"They reiterated some of their concerns," McMorris Rodgers said.

Top construction priority at Fairchild Air Force Base this y ear is the Physical Fitness Center, which had its roof collapse in the snow last winter.




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