The new tanker being put forward by Northrop Grumman and EADS is supposed to include a new system to defend itself from attack. Good thing. Seems a lot of defense has been necessary ever since Northrop and the Airbus folks beat out Boeing to win the massive contract.
And now, the entire defensibility of the aircraft itself has been called into question. Today, verbal missiles were launched by both sides.
From Boeing, a statement saying its tanker offering, the KC-767, is actually more survivable and less vulnerable to attack than the winning KC-30. Boeing claims that when the Air Force debriefed it after announcing a winner, "the Boeing team discovered the KC-767 outranked the KC-30 in the critical survivability category.
The KC-767 achieved a total score of 24 positive discriminators--including 11 described as major--while the KC-30 scored five, none of which were major." A Boeing consultant, former Air Force Chief of Staff, retired Gen. Ronald Fogleman, points out that survivability is kind of important in a tanker...
Meantime, Alabama blogger JD Crowe--whose state will benefit greatly from the Northrop win--has posted the following cartoon: