Lawmakers drop Boeing tanker plan

The controversial plan to lease and buy 100 767 tanker aircraft for the US Air Force is dead.

Lawmakers formally rejected on Thursday Boeing’s $23.5 billion bid to lease and sell 100 air tankers to the Air Force. Industry analysts said in May that the Pentagon had effectively killed the deal because of mounting complaints that it had been tilted in Boeing’s favor.

The House included a provision in its version of the legislation to revive the plan, but negotiators didn’t put it in the final bill, said Rep. John McHugh, R-N.Y.

Boeing spokesman Doug Kennett said Friday morning that the company would withhold comment “until we see exactly what the language says” in the bill’s final version.

I think the final language will say something to the effect of “Just Say ‘No’ to Corporate Welfare”.

It seems that just about everything about this deal smells. As in stink, stank, stunk.

Last week, Darleen Druyun was sentenced to nine months in prison for facilitating a sweet deal for Boeing in return for a job while she was an official in the Air Force.

Last November, she and CFO Michael Sears were fired by Boeing for what was already pretty obvious wrongdoing.

The White House recently withdrew its nomination of an Air Force general for the US Pacific Command due to his former connections with Druyun, even though he hasn’t been implicated in anything wrong.

MO has long been a critic of the plan to lease the 767s. But it was the financial aspect of the deal that was the problem. Although there have been rumors that the plane didn’t meet all USAF requirements, Boeing denies it and I’ve not seen anything credible to dispute them.

The Air Force still needs a new tanker program. As I written before, I don’t even necessarily have any problems with paying Boeing a bit more than we’d pay a foreign manufacturer such as Airbus. And if the 767 is truly the best plane for the Air Forces needs, then I don’t see why we can’t sill pursue the aircraft under a new deal.

Washington (state) congressman Norm Dicks thinks that the deal could possibly be renegotiated as an outright purchase.

The amount of bad-smelling residue left all over this plan would certainly complicate things. But Boeing needs orders to keep the 767 line running, and the USAF needs new tankers. Maybe a deal can be reached.

MO has written extensively on this subject, most recently here. Or you can search on 767 tanker on the left.

And I still think that if the 767 somehow manages to be our next tanker, we should look at building a 767-based JDAM bombing platform as well.


  1. nice, but this reminds me of the political cartoon showing the subject, in this case Druyan, as a hooked fish proudly held by a fisherman in his boat…which is being lept over by a relatively giant whale, representing all the big ones that keep getting away.