David Van Buren, the U.S. Air Force's top acquisition executive, says that the contract with Boeing to develop the KC-46A aerial refueler has been signed, marking a major step in the Air Force's decade-long pursuit of a KC-135 replacement.
, which won the $3.5 billion contract after more than a year of competition since the Air Force released its KC-X request for proposals, declined to say whether work has begun.
The Air Force on Feb. 24 announced that the company's 767-based KC-46A won over EADS North America's A330-based option (Aerospace DAILY, Feb. 25).
declined to identify why Boeing
won the deal, noting only that the company did undercut EADS in its price by more than 1%; the government adjusted the prices of the bids based on military construction needs, fuel burn and each aircraft's performance in an operational modeling tool.
says that additional data on why Boeing
won will not be released because it is proprietary.
The decision came after years of missteps by the Air Force, starting with a highly overpriced lease deal for Boeing
, then the 2008 announcement of a Northrop Grumman/EADS win, which was later dashed after procurement missteps came to light in a Government Accountability Office review.
"I am very, very proud of the program office," Van Buren
told an audience at a Credit Suisse conference March 1 in Arlington, Va. "I am very, very proud of Gen.
added, referring to Brig.
Gen. Christopher Bogden, the program executive officer overseeing the KC-X buy.