This artist's rendering by Boeing shows what it's been calling the NewGen Tanker refueling a B-2 Spirit stealth bomber.
In this artist's rendering, the NewGen Tanker simultaneously refuels a pair of F/A-18 Super Hornets.
Depicted here is a KC-46A with a B-1 bomber.
It should be noted that EADS had pledged to assemble its tanker, designated the KC-45, in Alabama. "With a program of such complexity, our review of today's decision will take some time," EADS North America Chairman Ralph D. Crosby Jr. said in a statement yesterday responding to the Pentagon's decision. "There are more than 48,000 Americans who are eager to build the KC-45 here in the U.S., and we owe it to them to conduct a thorough analysis."
The Air Force's decision had to be especially vexing for EADS, considering that it had actually won the contract in February 2008 only to see that decision voided when the U.S. Government Accountability Office ruled that Boeing had been treated unfairly. Then again, in 2003, Boeing had been the original recipient of the tanker contract, but that deal fell through "due to illegal acts that had involved some Boeing and Pentagon officials," the Defense Department said yesterday.
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton A. Schwartz (at left) expressed relief, saying that after an exhaustive review "we will get about delivering the capability that's long overdue and will stop talking about it."
Also pictured are Air Force Secretary Michael B. Donley (second from left) and Ashton B. Carter, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology, and logistics (right).
Correction March 6 at 7:55 p.m. PT: This caption initially misidentified the function of the person speaking with pilots.