- The Washington Times - Monday, June 8, 2009


It is no coincidence that Rep. Jo Bonner, Alabama Republican, and Rep. Artur Davis, Alabama Democrat, have taken up the issue of modernizing the Air Force’s aging aerial tanker fleet (“Up in the air on refueling,” Opinion, Tuesday). They rightfully call attention to the critical need to replace Eisenhower-era aircraft that still fly this indispensable modern aerial mission.

However, it also is ironic — and disappointing — that they close their article by saying, “The men and women of our military are depending on solutions, not politics.” They both represent constituencies and districts that stand to reap huge rewards should the Northrop-Grumman Corp./EADS (Airbus) entry win the competition and then be assembled in Alabama. This relationship was not made clear for readers new to, or unfamiliar with, the spirited competition between Boeing and EADS/Airbus for the tanker replacement.

Readers should take with a grain of salt their desire to “be open to compromise on the prospect of a dual award,” the idea being that both manufacturers be given an equal share of the project to “break the political impasse” and avoid further delays. It defies all logic, reasoning and common sense that you could build two completely different aircraft and be more economical - even “save the Pentagon money,” as they suggest - than a buy all of the same aircraft.


Col. U.S. Air Force (retired)


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