Friday, September 25, 2009


Lotsa stuff in the USAF pipeline today (and yesterday) about the Air Force releasing the long-awaited draft RFP for a new tanker... Third Edition. Long-time readers... both of you... know that we've talked about this subject before, and often, too. Like here, here, here, and here.  So... we'll refrain from flogging the dead horse, so to speak, and keep this kinda-sorta short by reverting to what others have said on this subject. More specifically... I'll take the liberty of quoting (in full) an e-mail I got from Gen. Mike Dunn this morning:

AFA Members, Congressional Staffers, Civic Leaders, DOCA Members, this week the Air Force released its long awaited Draft Request for Proposal for a new tanker. This occurred after Sec Gates transferred responsibility for the tanker's acquisition back to the Air Force.

Concurrent with this, the Air Mobility Command (AMC) released a White Paper which talks about the Imperative for a new tanker. This document is an exceptional piece. It details not only the rationale for a new tanker, but gives the reader some idea on its concept of operations. I especially like the following parts [listed by PDF page]:
Page 5 where AMC asks if we had ever tried to buy parts for a 1950s vintage Zenith television [I have … but found it cheaper to replace the TV rather than get someone to provide the parts.]

Page 6 – the chart which shows the average age of various airline fleets

Page 9 – where a RAND study is cited saying that the present KC-135 fleet will be 90 years old when fully retired … and the operation of a 90 year old fleet is unprecedented in aviation history
Operational scenarios which begin on page 9 show the range of missions our tanker fleet is expected to support.

You can find the White Paper on our website at:

A while back, one of you wrote me … your were the "Grandfather" who flew as a crew member on the KC-135 in the early 60s. Your dad was the "Great Grandfather" who got into the system near the end of his career in the late 1950s. Your son flew on the aircraft in the 1980s. And you were hoping your Grand daughter – who was in pilot training at the time got the chance to fly the aircraft next year. We all hope this family tradition does not continue for 40 or more years … as you will surely set a record for 6 generations of one family on the same system.

For your consideration.


Michael M. Dunn
Air Force Association
It's that last paragraph that really gets to me. Just to think we have evidence of FOUR generations of war-fighters flying the EXACT same aircraft just boggles my mind. There is absolutely NO excuse for that sort of thing. Or this, either.  Sad, in both cases. 

(photo credit:  Boeing... and that's a KC-767 in JASDF livery)


  1. I don't give a damn about the tankers--wha hoppan to your SALAS post???? Was I dreaming? It's TOTALLY GONE!
    Pics, comments and all...What's the deal MacNeil?

  2. It's still there, Virgil... it just dropped off the front page. I only keep 30 days of posts on the front page... so all you gotta do is click on "older posts" at the bottom of the page. ;-)

  3. Buck, this is going to be interesting. The one thing different about this go round that I did hear last time was that the two teams do not have legal teams assembled yet, which in the last competition they had on hand before they wrote the proposals. So I expect this to be a clean winner take all and no complaints from the loser competition.

    We sorely need them out there.

    BT: Jimmy T sends.

  4. Buck/

    I must have REALLY been three sheets to the wind when I hit that post the other night--could've SWORN it was one of the current ones. The whiskey front must have come in early and low. HA!

  5. Jimmy: I hope you're right about a clean bid and no whining from the losers. But I kinda doubt the last... everything is protested these days.

    Virgil: Stuff happens, LOL!


Just be polite... that's all I ask.