The good folks at IAG blog may have discerned the meaning behind some suprising comments on 21 February by the US Air Force's chief of staff -- General Michael Moseley. The general told reporters that the air force might but two types of new tankers instead of one.
Here is IAG's take:
USAF might buy "mixed" tanker fleetIn what may be a solution worthy of King Solomon, the USAF likely would seek to buy planes from both Boeing and Northrop Grumman, the top Air Force general said Wednesday.
As you read the linked story note the word use - some utility in a mixed fleet; a continual set of opportunities. To us this means Boeing likely gets the nod this time around and maybe net time the KC-30 team.
But his last statement "Lifecycle cost has to be as low as we can get it with the most capable airplane we can get" is really interesting. This one seems to favor the KC-30.
The truth may be that the USAF has to buy some KC-30s, sooner rather than later. That way the USAF keeps Boeing's prices very sharp. It also ensures the USAF has a choice of vendors. Isn't it amazing that this puts the USAF in the same place as many airlines? They all need Airbus to remain an effective airframe maker. Without it, Boeing becomes a monopoly which nobody wants. Airbus, despite its current woes, will get through its problems because those who fly planes need them.