Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Maybe Japan Will Let Us Use Theirs

As reported in's "Daily Report," Japan is getting its third KC-767J tanker from Boeing and is waiting on a fourth to be delivered in 2010. Here are the basics:

At Least Someone’s Getting New Tankers: While the Air Force sits and waits for a new tanker to replace its Eisenhower-era KC-135s, ally Japan’s tanker program progresses. According to Boeing, the company delivered the third of four KC-767J tankers that it is building for the Japan Air Self-Defense Force to its Japanese industry partner Itochu Feb. 25. Itochu will turn over the aircraft to the JASDF sometime this month after an in-country acceptance process. It will join the two KC-767Js that were supplied last year. "This new KC-767J will be a valuable addition to Japan's tanker fleet as the country performs vital missions in the Asia-Pacific region," Dave Bowman, Boeing vice president and general manager for Tanker Programs, said in the company’s release. Boeing said it is scheduled to transfer the fourth Japanese tanker to Itochu in December for delivery to the JASDF in the first quarter of 2010.

You would think there would be some outrage about this in Congress, since the United States Air Force is still flying 50-year-old tankers. Congress and the Pentagon have made things so complicated that it has become nearly impossible to re-equip the Air Force in any meaningful way. Since Japan is buying new tankers, maybe we can lease them when we need them. What a great new concept. We build them for other countries to use and then rent them since we can’t seem to build for our own Air Force. There’s got to be a better way of running a military.


Tim Snook said...

Does anyone else wonder why we don't just purchase the same tankers from Boeing that the Japanese are buying? Eliminates the non-recurring engineering cost, and the process to build them is already in place. Saves time and money.

Tim Snook

Airpower Oracle said...

Buy both, a split buy. Any other approach will only result in more protests and interminable delays. Why? At this stage, it is impossible to write a set of requirements that is fair and equitable to both contractors.