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where new CHEMPLANES are going to be based: USAF wants 100+ more (KC-767s)

There is urgency to doing this, said Aldridge. Tankers are "an essential part of our ability to do what we want to do in the military," he went on, but the KC-135s are wearing out. After 40 years, they are plagued with corrosion, stress fractures, spar fatigue, and other maladies of old age. The only other large tanker in service is the KC-10, of which the Air Force has only 59. If the KC-135 was grounded, it would mean massive problems for the entire military. Sambur told Air Force Magazine that USAF is dependent on KC-135s for almost 86 percent of its tanking.


" A lot of people come back and say, 'Well, you had a report that said these things could last forever,' " Sambur noted. "People keep coming back at us with this report, that the Air Force wrote a couple of years ago....
old KC-135Es/KC-135Rs: extra chemtrail covert duty wearing 'em thin?
old KC-135Es/KC-135Rs: extra chemtrail covert duty wearing 'em thin?

Uncle Schwarzenegger

"Never before in modern history has a country dominated the Earth so totally as the United States does today. American idols and icons are shaping the world from Katmandu to Kinshasa, from Cairo to Caracas. ... The Americans are acting, in the absence of limits put to them by anybody or anything, as if they own a blank check in their 'McWorld.' Strengthened by the end of Communism and an economic boom, Washington seems to have abandoned its self-doubts from the Vietnam trauma. America is now the [Arnold] Schwarzenegger of international politics: showing off muscles, obtrusive, intimidating."
From Der Spiegel, the German newsmagazine, as quoted in the Nov. 4, 1997, Washington Post.


Plans Set for Tanker Basing

The Air Force in June 2003 announced its preferred plan for basing the 100 KC-767 aerial refueling aircraft it expects to lease from Boeing. (See "100 Tankers," p. 64.) According to USAF's "tanker roadmap" the following bases will be affected:

Fairchild AFB, Wash., will receive 32 KC-767s by 2010 and will get up to $200 million in military construction funds.

Grand Forks AFB, N.D., will receive 32 KC-767s by 2009 and $176 million in construction funds.

MacDill AFB, Fla., will receive 32 KC-767s by 2011 and some $200 million in milcon funds.

Robins AFB, Ga., will eliminate its existing tanker inventory, creating room for future missions.

The remaining four KC-767s will be backup inventory. The lease arrangement will also allow the Air Force to retire its 133 aged KC-135Es.

Air Reserve Component units at the following bases will transition from E model KC-135s to R models as part of the tanker realignment:

Salt Lake City, Utah
Bangor, Maine
Pittsburgh, Pa.
Forbes Field, Kan.
McGhee Tyson ANGB, Tenn.
McGuire AFB, N.J.
Scott AFB, Ill.
Sioux City, Iowa
Beale AFB, Calif.
Phoenix, Ariz.
Selfridge ANGB, Mich.

The basing plan is contingent on Congressional approval of the tanker leasing plan.



The Basing Plan for the Tankers

The 100 Boeing KC-767 aerial refueling aircraft to be leased by the Air Force would be divided among three bases, according to an initial tanker roadmap released by the service on June 18.

The first active duty base to receive the new 767 tankers will be Fairchild AFB, Wash. Deliveries will start in 2006, and the base eventually will have 32 KC-767s. Following Fairchild will be Grand Forks AFB, N.D., getting up to 32 by 2009, and MacDill AFB, Fla., 32 by 2011.

USAF plans to add infrastructure and personnel at all three locations.

The remaining four KC-767s will be backup inventory to replace aircraft down for maintenance or otherwise sidelined from duty.


The Air Force seeks a deal to replace its aged KC-135s with leased commercial tankers.
100 Tankers
By John A. Tirpak, Executive Editor
The Air Force, heavily dependent for more than 40 years on workhorse KC-135 tankers, is about to begin a critical renewal effort.

The oldest and most problem-prone tankers in the Air Force—KC-135Es such as this one—would be replaced by 2011 with new, commercial tankers leased from Boeing. Younger KC-135Rs could continue in service 20 more years.

Following years of frustrating delays, the Pentagon finally gave the Air Force a green light to replace the aged air refuelers with state-of-the-art aircraft. Edward C. Aldridge, speaking at his last news briefing as Pentagon acquisition chief, said USAF can lease 100 tankers based on the Boeing 767-200. Boeing would convert these aircraft into KC-767 commercial tanker variants.

Aldridge announced the DOD decision on May 23, 2003. Congress must review and approve it before the Air Force can sign a contract.

The tanker modernization program, if it goes forward as planned, would serve as a model for "no-frills" acquisition that could be used to field urgently needed capability quickly. Indeed, the Air Force said the program must succeed if it is to head off what officials warn could be "catastrophes."

" We cannot continue to fly KC-135s forever," Aldridge asserted, "and the longer you wait to recapitalize, the more you run the risk ... of a fleet of those aircraft being grounded for some reason."

The Aldridge announcement capped two years of round-robin negotiation and horse-trading between and among Boeing executives, members of Congress, and Pentagon and Air Force officials. The avowed goal was to shake hands over a deal that would not only satisfy service requirements but also be affordable.

Aldridge declared that the deal in hand will do both.

In brief, USAF would lease the 100 airplanes at a per-airplane cost of $138.7 million. The Air Force also will have the option to buy the KC-767s at the end of the lease for an additional per-airplane cost of $40 million.

Aldridge, after seeing the terms of the deal as it was finally stated, told Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld that the Pentagon should "proceed with the lease arrangement."

The KC-767 would be capable of carrying more gas and taking off from shorter runways than the KC-135 it replaces. Additionally, it would have the electrical power to host communications relays for other aircraft in the battle area.

Only the First 100?

Rumsfeld agreed. Moreover, he also blessed language stating the intent of the Defense Department to "go beyond the first 100 767s" with additional acquisitions. Aldridge did not establish a final number.

The Air Force operates 544 KC-135s, said Aldridge, so the ultimate number of new aircraft likely will have to be "several hundred." However, DOD will not replace the Stratotankers one-for-one.

The Air Force has until Nov. 1 to deliver to Rumsfeld a long-range plan for recapitalizing the tanker fleet. ("Recapitalize" means the replacement of one type of service equipment with newer equipment of roughly equivalent or somewhat better capability.) Aldridge said the plan will answer basic questions about numbers of aircraft and configuration that the service will need after this initial lease.

The new aircraft will generally match the KC-135 in size but will exceed the old aircraft in capability, having the power to take off faster, operate from shorter runways, and carry more fuel. It will also feature advanced digital electronics.

Moreover, the new airplanes will be able to generate an amount of electrical power sufficient to let the airplanes serve as communication relays in the sky.

Under terms of the deal, USAF would take delivery of the first KC-767s in 2006. Production would ramp up to 20 airplanes per year. By 2009, the Air Force will have received 67 tankers.

The new plan replaces an earlier Air Force effort that encountered difficulties. Aldridge noted that, had the Air Force pursued its previous plan to start recapitalization in 2006, it would not have received the first airplane until 2010, if then.

The only other option—buying the new airplanes outright—would have required expenditure of about $8 billion in the 2004-09 Future Years Defense Program. However, no one believed the Air Force could come up with that kind of money.
" We would have had to take it out of some other program," Aldridge said. "We'd rather lease and get the airplanes sooner than spend that much money earlier in the FYDP."

There is urgency to doing this, said Aldridge. Tankers are "an essential part of our ability to do what we want to do in the military," he went on, but the KC-135s are wearing out. After 40 years, they are plagued with corrosion, stress fractures, spar fatigue, and other maladies of old age.

The only other large tanker in service is the KC-10, of which the Air Force has only 59. If the KC-135 was grounded, it would mean massive problems for the entire military.

" We need to do this right now," said Marvin R. Sambur, the Air Force's acquisition chief.

If some problem grounded the KC-135 fleet, USAF would have to rely on KC-10s such as this one, of which there are only 59. A diversity of tankers would pro-vide insurance against a fleetwide problem in the venerable Stratotanker force.

A "Horrible" Prospect

Sambur told Air Force Magazine that USAF is dependent on KC-135s for almost 86 percent of its tanking. A corrosion problem that called for immediate grounding of the type would be a "horrible" prospect, said Sambur, and would leave the service with no alternative means for aerial refueling.

Tankers were heavily used in Gulf War II, solving many access problems by extending the range of coalition aircraft from bases outside the immediate vicinity of Iraq. (See "The Squeeze on Air Mobility," July, p. 22.) Tankers also routinely reduce the need for large bases around the world. They permit strike, cargo, and intelligence aircraft to fly long distances without landing. In the absence of the tankers, the operating radius of the entire fixed-wing inventory of the US military would be sharply reduced.

For example, had there been no aerial tankers in Operation Iraqi Freedom, Navy aviation would have only been able to fly a small fraction of the missions it flew, given the limited capacity of its own small refueling airplanes.

Because of the long lead times involved, there is no room for delay, Sambur asserted. The KC-135s "may not fall out of the sky" if the service doesn't start recapitalizing now, he said, but "five to 10 years from now we could have catastrophes on our hands."

Sambur maintained that the Air Force needs to "start doing the prudent thing right now," which means "getting the insurance policy."

Under the lease arrangement, Boeing would bear all of the development risk. The aircraft are to come into USAF hands already in refueling configuration.

The Air Force is preparing not only the comprehensive Nov. 1 report but also one that lays out the service case on four issues:

There is a need for the tankers.
The service explored all options.
Leasing is superior to actual purchase.
The terms make it a good deal.
That report was destined to move quickly to Congress after review at OSD and the Office of Management and Budget.

One option favored by some in Congress was to re-engine the KC-135 to increase its takeoff power, cruise speed, and other performance parameters.

However, such an upgrade will "not buy you any lifetime, and that's what we need to buy: additional life," Aldridge said. He added: "We're going to be flying KC-135s for a long time, and we're going to be very dependent on them, but we don't have to be dependent on all of them."

Under lease terms, Boeing's per-aircraft profit cannot exceed 15 percent. Should Boeing achieve better efficiency and achieve greater profits, it will simply have to reimburse the government or lower the price to the Air Force, said Aldridge.

Aldridge explained that any cost overruns would reduce Boeing's profit. "We will never pay more ... for this airplane," he declared, "and could, if things become optimistic, pay somewhat less."

Aldridge said he believes there will be sufficient support on Capitol Hill to get the lease arrangement approved.

Some favor re-engining the KC-135Es, as was done with KC-135Rs like this one. However, senior leaders point out that re-engining does nothing to solve corrosion and age problems on the Stratotanker fleet.

McCain's Complaint

A prominent opponent is Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who argues that the KC-135 aircraft, though old, could be maintained indefinitely and their effectiveness dramatically increased by a re-engining program, which would cost less than new airplanes.

The General Accounting Office, a Congressional watchdog agency, determined that re-engining 127 KC-135Es would cost about $3.6 billion.

McCain calls the lease arrangement "corporate welfare" designed to raise Boeing's bottom line. The aerospace giant has been hard hit by a downturn in the aircraft industry following the Sept. 11 terror attacks in New York and Washington.

McCain claimed Air Force Secretary James G. Roche has been "relentless in exaggerating aerial tanker shortfalls in order to win approval of the lease." This, said McCain, contradicts the Air Force's own studies, which have suggested the tanker fleet could be flown at least until 2040 with proper maintenance.

Sambur maintains that the studies to which McCain refers are old and no longer present an accurate view of the situation.

" A lot of people come back and say, 'Well, you had a report that said these things could last forever,' " Sambur noted. "People keep coming back at us with this report, that the Air Force wrote a couple of years ago."

The report was written in "good faith," Sambur said. Soon after it was completed, he went on, the Air Force came face to face with some disturbing, real-life experiences concerning depot maintenance, and USAF found it had "greatly underestimated the effects of corrosion on these things."

Moreover, corrosion affects each airplane differently, making it impossible to predict where and how damage will occur.

Sambur said the previous report was like getting a clean bill of health from a doctor. That report is virtually worthless two years later; two-year-old assurances are no guarantee that you haven't developed a medical problem during the interim. Critics who use it to back their opposition to the lease are ignoring two years' worth of subsequent experience, in Sambur's view.

Now, with KC-135s having to be virtually rebuilt every time they visit the depot for tear-down inspections, the age issue has been sharply drawn.

The Air Force was required to make the "business case" for the lease to Rumsfeld, Sambur said. Part of that was a comparison of the present cost to maintain the KC-135 and the cost to lease the new airplanes.

Sambur said the Air Force took a conservative approach to estimating the rising cost of KC-135 maintenance. Even so, he said, the Air Force analysis showed the service could go out and acquire the new aircraft for the "net present amount" needed to maintain the old aircraft.

In depot, KC-135s are having to be virtually rebuilt as corrosion is found eating away at skin, stringers, and spars. No one has ever operated a fleet of 40-year-old aircraft before, and maintenance costs are climbing more than 18 percent a year.

The Cost of Aging

The KC-135 maintenance cost has increased since 1993 by an average of more than 18 percent per year, Sambur said.

This was the figure used in the official analyses, but "as these things get old ... you'd have a pretty good case to say, well, it's going to get worse than that," said Sambur.

Even with 100 new KC-767s, the Air Force will have to keep at least some of the KC-135s flying for many years to come. If the Air Force brought on board a second batch of 100 leased tankers—as it thinks it must do—it would still be flying KC-135s for decades, Sambur said.

Because no one has ever flown whole fleets of 40-year-old airplanes, it's impossible to say with certainty how long the KC-135s will last, Sambur added.

The Air Force wants to take out of service the 133 most aged KC-135Es. Sambur said it is simply an issue of money. Air Mobility Command said these tankers are already flying with restrictions, are the most problem-prone, and require the most extensive depot maintenance.

Of the $138.7-million-per-KC-767 cost, $131 million will accrue to Boeing to cover materials, labor, and provide a profit margin. The other $7.7 million per aircraft will go to a "special entity" set up to administer the lease. It will cover interest payments for Boeing construction loans and long-lead purchases.

Boeing will also perform major maintenance and overhauls on the aircraft and will receive about $3.6 million per aircraft per year for this work.

When the legislation enabling the lease was enacted, some suggested that the Air Force would have to pay both to modify the airplanes to tanker configuration, then, at the end of the lease, convert them back to cargo or passenger configuration. There was also the suggestion—from Roche himself—that USAF would receive "white tails"—airplanes made available by cancellations of commercial orders.

This is not true in either case, according to Bob Gower, Boeing's vice president for tanker programs.

" All of the airplanes are 'new build' airplanes, and none of them are sitting on our ramp," Gower told Air Force Magazine.

Aldridge suggested that, because the financially strapped Boeing might shut down its 767 line, the Air Force had a need to move quickly. According to Boeing officials, this is also not true. Gower asserted, "Our plans were and are to continue producing the 767 as long as it's commercially viable, and it's still commercially viable."

Boeing has enough tooling to support the production of as many as seven 767s a month at its Bremerton, Wash., plant, Gower said. "Green tail" 767s would go to Boeing's Wichita, Kan., facility for conversion to tanker configuration.

The 767-200 made its debut in 1982, but the aircraft has been continually updated since then, Gower said. The model that is being offered to the Air Force has an all-digital cockpit, as well as a new boom operator's station just aft of the cockpit. From there, the boom operator can observe all the aircraft behind the tanker using multiple cameras. The station will be identical to a simulator, saving training costs.

The PACER CRAG KC-135 update brought the fleet up to current international navigation and communications standards and was initially thought sufficient to keep the fleet flying indefinitely. Reality has since set in. The Pentagon intends to go beyond 100 KC-767s, eventually replacing most of the fleet.

Internet in the Sky

The airplane will also have a 120 KVA generator to support the additional communications gear USAF wants to install on the airplane, making it a "smart tanker." The generator is included in the price, and so is Link 16 data-sharing capability, but the additional communications gear—which would make the airplane "an Internet in the sky," according to Chief of Staff Gen. John P. Jumper—would be an extra cost.

The KC-767 will also have a receptacle so that it, too, can be refueled in midair. This feature will multiply the options available to combatant commanders. So will the fact that the KC-767, fully loaded, will be able to take off using a runway of only 7,700 feet. The KC-135 requires more than 12,000 feet.

The original estimate to lease 100 airplanes ran to $26 billion. The price has now fallen to $16 billion, but, according to Aldridge, that was possible only under certain conditions. The most important was the Pentagon's declaration of its intent to expand the arrangement beyond just 100 airplanes. Boeing needed to see this intent, said Aldridge, because it eliminated some of the risk the company faced.

Moreover, caps were imposed on some expenses, Aldridge noted, and the Air Force agreed to do without certain items that were on the original work plan. "As the Air Force has gone through this process," said Gower, "they really have used the cost-as-an-independent-variable approach in trying to figure out what they would like to have and what they can afford."

Example: Though USAF wanted plumbing in the wings for wingtip probe-and-drogue refueling, to lower cost, it dropped the requirement. The aircraft will have both a boom-type refueling system and a probe-and-drogue, both on the centerline.

The Air Force wanted a "combi" configuration permitting it to carry passengers and cargo at the same time. This would have required building a special bulkhead, so the plan was dropped.

Sambur bristled at the suggestion that the Air Force was working a special deal to bail out Boeing. He maintained that, had the Air Force attempted to start a new tanker from scratch, it could easily have taken until the mid-2010s to get the first airplane, and development costs would probably have killed the project at the outset.

Sambur said the project is an example of "agile acquisition." The idea was to buy something "proven, off the shelf, [that] gives us great capability."

Pressure from OMB, as well as the federally funded think tank Institute for Defense Analyses, kept the price down, too, Sambur added. Thanks to this pressure, he went on, "We were able to get Boeing to really prove they were giving us a good deal."

One of the hardest "sells" was the Pentagon's program analysis and evaluation shop, Sambur noted. "PA&E ... was very concerned about whether we really needed a tanker. They were convinced at the outset that we could re-engine [the KC-135]. And they had some very good arguments."

In the end, however, the constellation of need, price, opportunity, and logic won the day.

The Basing Plan for the Tankers

The 100 Boeing KC-767 aerial refueling aircraft to be leased by the Air Force would be divided among three bases, according to an initial tanker roadmap released by the service on June 18.

The first active duty base to receive the new 767 tankers will be Fairchild AFB, Wash. Deliveries will start in 2006, and the base eventually will have 32 KC-767s. Following Fairchild will be Grand Forks AFB, N.D., getting up to 32 by 2009, and MacDill AFB, Fla., 32 by 2011.

USAF plans to add infrastructure and personnel at all three locations.

The remaining four KC-767s will be backup inventory to replace aircraft down for maintenance or otherwise sidelined from duty.

The proposed lease of the new tankers coincides with the planned retirement of all remaining KC-135Es—the average age of which exceeds 43 years—and the redistribution of the KC-135R fleet. (See "Aerospace World: Plans Set for Tanker Basing," p. 13.)



The USAF­Boeing tanker accord is a landmark deal, but it has now been thrust into uncharted territory.

Tanker Twilight Zone
By John A. Tirpak, Executive Editor

The Pentagon in December 2003 put the Air Force's tanker deal on hold in response to allegations that former Boeing and service officials had committed ethics violations. The agreement—a plan to lease 20 and buy 80 new Boeing KC-767 tankers to modernize USAF's aerial refueling fleet—marked the climax of more than two years of tough negotiations between the service and the contractor as well as scrutiny by the Administration and Congress.

Now, execution of the deal may be delayed until well into the spring, if not later. That could force both sides back to the bargaining table and conceivably result in a substantially higher price for the aircraft.

The service wants 100 new KC-767 tankers such as this one being built for Italy. The Air Force's planned modernization of its tanker fleet was thrown into limbo, pending the outcome of various investigations.

If current investigations support the allegations or uncover other breaches of law, the deal could be scrapped entirely.

Right now, only Boeing can provide an Air Force-compatible aerial refueling airplane. Were Boeing to be barred from any new arrangement, the Air Force would be compelled to explore a massive and costly service life extension program for its existing fleet of 126 aged KC-135Es, which suffer from serious corrosion and structural fatigue problems.

In the compromise tanker deal struck in November of last year, the Air Force would lease 20 KC-767 aircraft and purchase 80 more. The first four would be delivered in Fiscal 2006 and another 16 by the following year. All 100 would be in service by 2014, introduced at a rate of about a dozen a year. (See chart, "The 20/80 Deal," p. 49.)

"Our proposal strikes a necessary balance between the critical need for new air refueling tankers and the constraints on our budget," Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz wrote to the chairmen of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees on Nov. 5, 2003.

The original plan, which called for a lease-to-own arrangement for all 100 aircraft, would have cost about $4 billion more than the 20/80 lease/buy plan. However, it will take three years longer to get the full complement of airplanes under the 20/80 plan.

The compromise was proposed by Sen. John Warner (R-Va.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Warner was a key proponent who recognized the Air Force's need to acquire new tankers as quickly as possible, but he bowed to pressure to find a less costly route.

Under the original plan, the Pentagon pledged to go "beyond" 100 aircraft, but Wolfowitz said nothing in his letter about exceeding that figure.

The KC-767 tanker is a "quantum leap" beyond the KC-135E tanker, according to Boeing. Compared to the older aerial refueler, the new tanker will be able to:

Off-load 20 percent more fuel.
Lift off with a full load from four times as many runways.
Provide greater capacities for cargo (19 pallets vs. six) and passengers (200 vs. 57).
Refuel all US and allied aircraft types on one mission.
Be air refueled itself.

Additionally, the KC-767 will have a state-of-the-art digital cockpit and enable the Air Force, in the future, to upgrade the aircraft to "smart" tanker capability. Even more importantly, the new tanker will spend 70 days in depot maintenance over a 10-year period, compared to 700 days for the KC-135E, according to Boeing.

The tanker deal went off the rails—at least temporarily—on Nov. 24, when Boeing fired two of its key leaders—Michael M. Sears, the company's chief financial officer, and Darleen A. Druyun, a vice president in the missile defense business. (See "Editorial: Tanker Turmoil," January, p. 2.) Druyun had been the Air Force's No. 2 acquisition official until she retired in late 2002.

In a statement, Boeing said the company sacked the two executives because Sears had approached Druyun about possible employment, though she was still working for the Air Force and before she had recused herself from official involvement with Boeing contracts. Boeing said that an internal investigation uncovered direct and indirect communications between Sears and Druyun and that the two had tried "to conceal their misconduct."

No one disputes that the KC-135E fleet is old. Sen. John Warner (R-Va.) has declared that tanker modernization must be carried out. He urged the Pentagon to work with Congress to resolve outstanding tanker issues.

The company insisted that it received no special treatment from Druyun, who is described by some as an architect of the tanker deal. Druyun took the job with Boeing in January 2003.

Marvin R. Sambur, USAF's top acquisition official, said that Druyun left the Air Force long before the critical period of negotiations that produced the tanker deal. He added that the price of the aircraft continued to drop during negotiations in the year after her departure, which means she did not secure a windfall for Boeing, if that, indeed, was her goal.

Boeing also replaced its top executive, Philip M. Condit, on Dec. 1, 2003. Its new chief executive officer, Harry C. Stonecipher, said, "One of the first, foremost, and most immediate tasks I have" is "getting the tanker program going and reassuring the government that we are not only compliant but [also] an exemplary supplier to them."

The Boeing firings spawned separate investigations by Congress, the Justice Department, the Pentagon, and the Air Force. The Senate Armed Services Committe and Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee plan to hold hearings on the issue this month.

At the heart of these probes lie the questions of whether Druyun improperly passed information to Boeing about a tanker offer from a rival manufacturer, European Aeronautic Defense and Space Co. (EADS), and whether Druyun somehow favored Boeing in the tanker deal in anticipation of working for the company.

Expanding Probes

Already, though, the problem has spread beyond the tanker deal.

At a Nov. 25 Pentagon press conference, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said that he had asked his aides whether the problem with the tanker deal might have broader implications for the Defense Department. "I said that I thought they ought to set about looking at it and asking those questions," said Rumsfeld, adding, "We're the custodian of the taxpayers' dollars. We have an obligation to see that things are done properly."

Air Force Secretary James G. Roche asked the Pentagon inspector general to look into other big-ticket contracts involving Druyun and Boeing, back to 2000. These programs include the F/A-22 fighter, the C-17 airlifter, an E-3C AWACS upgrade, and the Small Diameter Bomb. After it became known that Boeing was not the only company that considered hiring Druyun, the IG investigation widened further.

On Dec. 17, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service began an inquiry into all Druyun-related contracts valued $10 million or more in the two years before she left the Air Force. Such a list encompasses a wide variety of programs. A Pentagon official said that, even working diligently through the winter holidays, it could take "some months" for DCIS to sift through all those contracts.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the chairman of the Commerce Committee and the tanker deal's chief Capitol Hill opponent, said he planned to investigate the large number of former senior Air Force and US government personnel who have found employment with Boeing.

At McCain's request, Boeing turned over thousands of internal e-mails pertaining to the tanker deal. McCain staffers released some of them, particularly those that seemed to suggest what McCain called an "incestuous relationship" between the company and USAF.

McCain last August turned over copies of those e-mails to the Pentagon inspector general. At that time, the IG launched an investigation focusing on the issue of whether Druyun had passed EADS proprietary information to Boeing.

Shifting to the lease/buy tanker plan will force tough budget choices on the Air Force. No funds have yet been programmed for the tanker (shown here in an artist's rendering).

Various news organizations picked up the e-mail trail. On Sept. 1, 2003, Boeing issued a response to one news report that claimed an e-mail revealed the company received proprietary data. Boeing said the information was taken out of context and simply referred to "a standard debriefing" following the Air Force decision to contract with Boeing, not EADS. According to Boeing, the e-mail shows that "an Air Force official was telling Boeing that, even though we had won the competition, our price would have to come down."

Still, lawmakers approved the tanker replacement plan in early November. They shied away from the Air Force's original request to lease all 100 tankers, but, on Nov. 5, they reached a compromise agreement with the Administration that produced the 20/80 lease/buy deal.

McCain, meanwhile, has held up the confirmation of Michael W. Wynne to be the Pentagon's new chief of acquisition, technology, and logistics. Wynne, in his Nov. 18 confirmation hearing, declined to promise that he would turn over all internal Defense Department documents relating to the tanker lease, as McCain demanded. Roche's nomination last July to be the new Secretary of the Army has been on hold, pending the outcome of a DOD IG investigation on the sexual assault problems at the Air Force Academy. (See "Upheaval at the Academy," January, p. 56.) The IG report was due in December. However, McCain is likely to block Roche's confirmation because of the tanker issue as well.

Pentagon officials later said they did not want to establish a precedent of giving a Senator access to internal communications, based simply on a request. "If he really wants them, he can subpoena them," a senior Pentagon official said.

While McCain continued his assault on the tanker deal, other lawmakers contended that the replacement plan must move forward. After the initial Boeing revelations, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Warner wrote to Rumsfeld, agreeing that the deal should get closer scrutiny but arguing that it shouldn't derail tanker modernization.

"Quite apart from the allegations surrounding the lease, additional tanker aircraft are needed for national security purposes," Warner wrote on Nov. 26. "For this reason, a full and cooperative effort between the legislative and executive branches is imperative to meet this requirement."

The "Pause"

Initially, Air Force officials wanted to press on with the tanker deal and award a contract early last December so that Boeing could start on the first 767 by midmonth. However, Air Force officials said, Pentagon leaders demanded some "breathing room" before the signing of a contract. Defense leadership advocated a Jan. 31 contract award, but even that date was dropped when Warner and McCain said that hearings on the tanker lease would start after Congress came back into session on Jan. 20.

Wolfowitz on Dec. 2 formally notified Congress that DOD had ordered a "pause" in the program.

Last fall, Boeing had announced that a lack of orders was forcing the company to shut down its 757 line and that the same fate awaited the 767 line if the Air Force tanker contract did not materialize before mid-December. Rather than close the 767 line, however, Boeing officials decided to fund the work internally. If the USAF deal evaporates, Boeing would try to sell the 767 tanker to another country. (Boeing already has a contract to provide four 767 tankers to the Italian Air Force. Under the July 2002 agreement, the first one is due to be delivered in 2005.)

Boeing officials said that, should the tanker deal stay in limbo, they might still have to stop work and lay off more than 400 employees in the states of Washington and Kansas. Shutting down the 767 line would increase the cost of any subsequent order for tankers, since the line would have to be reopened and its workers retrained and recertified—an expensive process.

Line closure would be double trouble for the Air Force. In addition to counting on the 767 for tanker replacements, the service plans to base its next generation intelligence-surveillance-reconnaissance aircraft, the E-10A Multisensor Command and Control Aircraft, on the 767 airframe. The E-10A would replace the E-8 Joint STARS ground mapping radar airplane, the RC-135 Rivet Joint signals intelligence aircraft, and, potentially, the E-3 AWACS air battle control airplane.

The Air Force had already begun the process of retiring some of its 40-year-old KC-135E tankers in anticipation of getting new KC-767s. (See "100 Tankers," August 2003, p. 64.) By mid-December, the service had not decided whether it would alter those retirement plans, pending the results of the various investigations. Under terms of the 2004 defense authorization bill, the Air Force may withdraw no more than 12 KC-135Es from service over the next year.

Lawmakers also directed the Air Force to provide "an up-to-date, independent assessment of the material condition of the KC-135 aerial refueling fleet." They ordered the outside analysis because the corrosion problem was a major justification provided by the Air Force when it launched its tanker replacement proposal.

The Air Force's tanker plan has been controversial since its inception. Even so, the original lease-to-buy plan successfully ran a gauntlet of Capitol Hill committees, Office of Management and Budget, Pentagon program analysts, and other hurdles. Its last, and most important, roadblock was the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Throughout the two-year debate, Air Force leaders freely admitted that the lease-to-buy plan would cost more than an outright buy. What made the lease approach palatable, they said, was that it would allow the service to spread the cost more manageably and would get the tankers into the fleet more quickly.

McCain and other critics maintained that the lease deal would waste money and amounted to "corporate welfare" for Boeing, which had been hard hit by the downturn in airline business following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. McCain convinced Warner and others on the committee, notably ranking Democrat Carl Levin (D-Mich.), to modify the plan so that only 20 aircraft were to be leased and the remaining 80 purchased.

The original lease plan could be paid out of operation and maintenance funds over a longer period, but the 20/80 plan requires a substantial and unbudgeted up-front USAF investment—about $10 billion, according to the Air Force.

Under the 20/80 lease/buy plan, the Air Force would get 100 tankers by 2014. The new deal deepens a bow wave of procurement beginning late in this decade, when USAF is already buying F/A-22s, F-35s, the E-10A, and a major C-5 upgrade.

Robbing Peter

The Air Force will have to find about $2.4 billion from other programs to pay to lease the first 20 tankers and another $14.8 billion over the next decade to purchase the other 80.

"We are going to have to take it out of hide," said a senior Air Force official.

The tanker funding profile agreed to by the Defense Department and the Senate Armed Services Committee enlarges the "bow wave" of procurement bills the Air Force will have to pay in the years 2009-14. During that period, F/A-22 production will peak, and USAF will be buying early lots of the F-35 strike fighter. The service plans, in the period, to purchase E-10A aircraft and carry out a major upgrade to its C-5 airlifters. (See "Saving the Galaxy," January, p. 30.) In addition, Congress wants the Air Force to try to ready a new long-range strike capability for 2013.

While USAF would not state which programs might be reduced or sacrificed to pay for the tankers, some service officials did say, unofficially, that three programs—the C-5 upgrade, the E-10A, and the F-35—in particular were being scrutinized as potential sources of funds.

Scrapping the C-5 upgrade would provide about $8 billion—less than half the amount needed to pay for the 100 tankers. Not performing the upgrade could, in turn, require the Air Force to buy additional C-17 strategic transports. The E-10A is expected to reduce ISR operating costs by consolidating many missions onto a single platform and advance the state of the art in airborne battle management by improving coordination between various USAF sensor platforms. The F-35 is urgently needed to fill a shortage of fighters that already exists and that is expected to worsen in the next five years.

The up-front money needed to make the 20/80 deal work under the present law, said Sambur, is "money we simply do not have."

Full of shit 25.Oct.2004 23:13


You 'Chem-trails' people are so full of shit it makes me laugh. I'd almost think you were government agents meant to send the left down dorky, ridiculous avenues. Stop your horseshit, would you? Fuck you.

what horseshit 25.Oct.2004 23:29


That post looks more like horseshit than the one above it!

Take a deep breath, drink some water and calm down, Bakunin.

Congress Killed the KC-767 25.Oct.2004 23:44


This year's DoD budget finally killed the US Air Force leasing plans for the 767s.

to Bakunin 25.Oct.2004 23:55


Summer 2001: Chemtrail pictures sent to newspapers by Associated Press.

Oct. 2001: United States House of Representatives bill HR2977 introduced
by Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich. It called for the peaceful uses of space, and a
ban on 'exotic weapons'. Section 7 of the 'Space Preservation Act of 2001'
sought specifically to prohibit 'chemtrails' by name. Kucinich recently told
the Columbus Alive newspaper (Jan. 24, 2002) that despite official denials,
as head of the Armed Services oversight committee he is well acquainted
with chemtrail projects. "The truth is there's an entire program in the Dept.
of Defense - 'Vision for 2020' - that's developing these weapons," Kucinich
told reporter Bob Fitrakis. The U.S. Space Command's 2020 vision calls for
'dominance of space, land, sea and air'. Though "section vii" naming
chemtrails, HAARP & other planet-threatening weapons were removed in a
substitute bill, the removal was under pressure, according to Kucinich...

December 6, 2001: A scientist working at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base
recently told reporter Bob Fitrakis that two different projects are being
conducted. One involves cloud creation experiments to lessen the effect of
global warming. Other chemtrails connected with the military's extremely
high-power Radio Frequency beam weapon in Alaska called HAARP. The
scientist claims that the two most common substances being sprayed into
chemtrails are aluminum oxide and barium stearate. When you see planes
flying back and forth marking parallel lines, X-patterns and grids in a clear
sky, that's aluminum oxide, according to the scientist. Barium may be
sprayed in a similar manner for the purpose of high-tech 3-D radar imaging.
(Columbus Alive, Dec. 6, 2001)

Sprayings have only expanded since then. Complaints met with complete
official denials and grandstanding. Whole cities repeatedly buzzed/sickened.

Author: repost
Date: 2004.10.05 06:53
Description: If you still are skeptical, that's fine though forgive me for being skeptical if you any brain left to think, instead of it being a justifiable skepticism. Skepticism is where there is a lack of evidence, and there is nothing like a lack of evidence to base skepticism upon. This is 14 min. EXCERPT from a 22 min video, free at this link:  http://www.willthomas.net/Chemtrails/How_To_Stop_Chemtrails.htm You can download copies and watch it streaming on the web.

I'm X. You're O. Want to play a game without a winner?
I'm X. You're O. Want to play a game without a winner?
Portland, Lake Camas, April 2004
Portland, Lake Camas, April 2004

as for me, 26.Oct.2004 00:48


very appreciative of your posting this...it's convinced me that chemtrails are REAL! Thanks!

Really? 26.Oct.2004 02:16

Tony Blair's dog

"This year's DoD budget finally killed the US Air Force leasing plans for the 767s."

And the DOD budget being at an all-time high explains that? ;-)

Nice try.

wow, 13 min weasel response 26.Oct.2004 10:40


reposts-25.Oct.2004 23:00 ---Bakunin-25.Oct.2004 23:13

Some folks sure are concerned about this topic. It took 13 minutes for the attack dogs (bad dogs) to jump on this header. Razor a bit too close?

wacky 26.Oct.2004 15:39

but well intentioned

These people are right to be worried about what's in the air and the water and the dirt in front of their houses. Paradoxically, real chemicals are invisible. Clouds are harmless. This is a problem for highly visual creatures like human beings.

Contrails aren't gonna hurt you. Evil crap in your drinking water and the air in your house right now is gonna hurt you. What to do about it? Got me. But posting more pictures of the same lines in the sky everybody already knows about -- a known meteorological phenomenon since the invention of the airplane -- isn't moving anything forward, guys.

' Clouds are harmless' 26.Oct.2004 18:06


not all clouds. Just the ones which are composed of water mist as the condenced water vapor liqifies or crystalizes in near saturated air.
In clear skies the contrails of normal water vapor evaporate or at lower tempatures, sublimate. They do not spread. Period.

Please study meterology and then explain the process of cloud formation in altitudes above 20,000 feet, sea level. Get back with ya.

yes! yes! you've figured it all out! 26.Oct.2004 19:38

keep it comin' guys

Contrail posts attract a lot of attention for their humor value. It's like reading the comic pages in the newspaper or the UFO tabloids on the way out of the supermarket.

Widen Your Horizons 26.Oct.2004 20:48

Not in America

Live in a different country for awhile and you will then realize that you are all polluted sheep.

options 27.Oct.2004 05:37


What ever they are, the ABnormal phenomena of aerosol trails pose a weapon potential directed at the people. Like the similar threat the specific victims of the anthrax attacks had visited upon their lives with impunity. They died and the nation trembled in fright. Anyone or as many of us as the similar stock piles in the black bio labs can produce are potential targets. We are all under the sword of our manic power elite.