NewGen Tanker

Boeing announced today that we will offer what we’re calling the “NewGen Tanker” in the competition to supply the U.S. Air Force with a multi-mission aerial refueling aircraft.


The NewGen Tanker is based on the 767 commercial jetliner - but it will be updated with the latest and most advanced technology. Click on the image above to go to our New Gen Tanker launch site.

Our colleagues at Boeing Defense, Space and Security believe that our new offering will satisfy all mandatory Air Force requirements. It will also offer an American-made tanker that’s “capable, survivable and combat-ready” at the lowest cost to the taxpayer.

In today’s announcement, Commercial Airplanes president and CEO Jim Albaugh emphasized that “the NewGen Tanker will draw on the experience and talents of an integrated U.S. Tanker Team, including the best of our Boeing defense and commercial businesses and our nationwide supplier network.”

By the way, we’re calling it “NewGen” because the airplane will feature state-of-the-art systems, including a digital flight deck with electronic displays taken directly from the 787 Dreamliner, a new-generation fly-by-wire boom, and the capability to control the airplane by the aircrew with unrestricted access to the full flight envelope at any time, rather than allowing computer software to limit maneuverability.

You can read more about the cost and operating benefits of the Boeing New Gen Tanker and other details here. And keep up with the latest news on our NewGen Tanker blog.

Boeing will deliver our proposal by May 10, and the Air Force is expected to announce its decision later this year.

Comments (17)

Tom DePew (Lewisville, Texas, USA):

Thanks for the update on that competition. I was very glad Boeing protested the previous award, and that you were sustained in that protest.

One thing I don't get is why Boeing is going to use the 767 as the platform. Wasn't that something that became an issue in the last competition. The requirements no doubt align to the platform Boeing is proposing, but it seems that the Air Force wants something else.

Norman (Long Beach, California, United States):

I like the video of the NewGen tanker particularly the new digital flight deck that is derived from the 787.

For the 372 tanker requirement at least 310 767 tankers can replace the KC-135 and the 62 777 tankers can replace the KC-10.

There is a huge cost savings effect over the KC-45 (A330-200) in ways that the production facility already exists, their are people in the immediate vicinity with experience building the 767 and 777 and more Americans will support an American designed and made aircraft more than the KC-45.

neutrino (Crowflies, WA, USA):

"...and the capability to control the airplane by the aircrew with unrestricted access to the full flight envelope at any time, rather than allowing computer software to limit maneuverability."

This reads like a "straw man" argument.

I understand the EADS/Northrup Grumman proposal includes a 1980s-era design fly-by-wire primary and secondary flight control system while the Boeing proposal uses a conventional 1970s-era design irreversible, hydraulically-boosted mechanical flight control system.

While a fly-by-wire system can hard limit envelope protection, hard limit envelope protection isn't a property of all fly-by-wire systems, which I assumed the quoted text to imply. Maybe I misread?

A tanker proposal could use fly-by-wire with soft envelope limiting. I thought the B777 fly-by-wire system allows the pilots unrestricted access to the full envelope if the pilots make the demand of it.

In general, fly-by-wire flight controls lead to better handling properties with the option of tuning the system in software to get the best handling characteristics, rather than machining cams and changing feel computers and adding springs and bob weights and other devices to tune a hydro-mechanical system.

Don Harrington (Bellevue, WA):

Boeing is offering a great product. If N-G/EADS doesn't feel they can offer a competitive product because they don't offer a similar airframe, whose fault is that?

Boeing should win this handily.

I wonder if N-G got CANES as a consolation prize?

James Robinson (Long Beach):

You might also mention the airforce RFP emphasizes meeting minimum requirements at the lowest cost. This makes the smallest aircraft which meets those minimum requirements the most competitive.

That emphasis on costs is why Boeing chose to offer a proposal based on the 767, the 767 is essentially obsolete in the commercial market. As opposed to a proposal based on the 777-200F, which could carry a lot more a lot further.

Fortunately for Boeing the emphasis on cost and the fact the 767 is the smallest aircraft which meets the air force's requirements means the larger A330 based proposal will have a hard time being competitive.

Gloria Pelous (Huntington Beach, CA):

I do NOT understand WHY our government would be allowed to give ANY USA Military contract to a Foreign country & an airplane builder like Airbus, especially when so many Foreign countries want to get rid of us!!!

The most IMPORTANT FACT here is that Boeing has had years of SUCCESS with the Tanker!! This should be a no brainer for a Single Source RFP!

The fact that a Foreign country is allowed to be involved with this RFP proves how totally inept &, probably corrupt, the 'spokeholes' that uninformed voters elected have become!

Enough is Enough!!!!

Barun Majumdar (Seattle, WA, USA):

We should try to capitalize the new advances in technology like digital flight deck with electronic displays already used on 787 as you've mentioned.

We'll be able to improve the aerodynamic efficiency as well using state-of-the-art technology being employed in other commercial airplane programs. That will be good for the customer U.S. Air Force and good for the taxpayers because billions of dollars will be saved protecting environment from reduced greenhouse gas emission and depletion of our foreigh reserve as well. It will be a great opportunity for the enterprise to amalgamate and work as a team in the truest sense!

Kevin (Los Angeles, CA):

In my humble opinion, a hydro-mechanical system is not an anachronism. If anything, it is very reliable and easy to trouble shoot/repair, which is important when fighting a war.

Bob Taylor (Troutdale Ore):

There are many reasons to buy Boeing, but I'll stick with the two that get at me the most.

Boeing has won a World Trade dispute against Airbus. At issue is the fact that Airbus gets low interest Loans, that if the A/P is not a success they don't have to pay them back. Its kinda like going to Vegas and gambling with your mamas money.

Air bus says oh yeah, well Boeing gets military contracts and that's the same as Gov. aid???
So even though the world trade organization says Boeing's right, we turn around and give Air Bus the one thing thats supposed to offset their un-fair advantage

During the 1st gulf war the US did about 75% of the fighting and dying, and the rest of the world combined for the remaining 25%.

Thats because the US spends its money on the military. It is by far the most capable in the world. Where as the Europeans spend their money on health care and collage tuition for their kids.

So in a nut shell, we sacrifice every-which-away and they get the health care, collage tuition for their kids and our jobs!!!

Only in America would this even be considered. Do you think Europe is thinking of buying our tankers?

PS I work for Boeing and I know for a fact that we build a Darn Good A/P.

Alessandro (European Union):

The fact is that US canĀ“t afford new tankers nor maintain the spaceshuttle programme.
Best option today is to rebuild MD-11s. Surely Japan
and Italy can be interested in this aircraft since they operate the B767 tanker already.

Cristiano (Campo Grande, MS, Brazil):

This is a great reason to revive the 767 line with some 787 technologies. The 767 has lower cost of acquisition and can work as great option for 757-300, yet having extended range capabilities. By considering the fact that the 787 production line backlog is complete for many years to come, the 767NG can be of great option for nationwide network improvement.

Tom (Germany):

The tanker deal isn't that easy!

Boeing might be lucky if it gets the whole cake.

Does it mean there is no chance for any major transatlantic cooperations and no or little competition for Boeing in long terms?
And what about the other defence projects?
The F35 project already got a lot of disappointed industrial partners - or already too many?

Randy, you know many Boeing launching customers are aliens!

The "buy American product" call also implies a "buy Non-American products" call - in both cases a critical approach!

Now it's up to the bean counters to develop the strategic concept of the air forces

Joshua Lyman (Haverford, Pa):

With reference to the tanker in itself, I am flabbergasted that NewGen can be written next to 767.

I just can't understand how in 2008, the 767 and A330 tankers were both evaluated and the A330 won the bid based on a given RFP, and how in 2010, the same aircraft would be evaluated and the 767 has pretty much already been handed the victory based on a different RFP? If the RFP was so bad or inadequate in 2008, how did it get that far?

Re (from Bob Taylor): "Do you think Europe is thinking of buying our tankers?"
Where is Italy?

Tom (Germany):

Joshua - Where is Italy?

Answer: In Europe and Italian companies are producing partner in the Boeing team!

Furthermore Japan is in Asia and Japanese companies are ....

Anyhow: Game is over: NG/EADAS resigned their proposal (Boeing is not surprised, they know the NGC/EADS figures)!
Sooner or later Boeing will (be asked to) propose an add-on based on 777 - naturally with improved cockpit (Who will fly the tanker ... National Guard ... not Top-Guns!), engines... etc...

TC (Mt. Vernon, WA):

Roll on, 767, roll on, roll on.

Your NewGen easy to read 787 style displays are like, uh, darkness to dawn

So roll on, 767, roll on

Green Douglas-firs where the waters cut through
Your unrestricted full flight envelope access is a helpful tool.

Layman (Cape Town):

What a lot of emotional knee-jerk uninformed comments. Even though it is now a moot point as Boeing will be the only bidder.
I would have assumed that the patriotic folk would prefer the best solution irrespective of where it is made- notwithstanding the point that Airbus committed to moving the fabrication of the tanker to the USA after the initial build models and the US supplied components exceeded 50% of the plane.

Gray / Germany:

"It will also offer an American-made tanker"
Oh, so Boeing will make a second offer, beside the KC-767? Because the 767 isn't totally American-made. Important parts come from Japan (which largely subisidizes this production, btw)!

But congratulations to Boeing for ripping the taxpayer off once again! Now he/she will pay the same or even higher price for a smaller airplane with older technology. That tanker won't be much better than the decades-old KC-10s in operation now. The replacement of the KC-135s, a 50 year old design, will now drag on until 2027. And only half of the jobs will be created, at a time when job creation should be one of the most important issues. Yeah, really, what's not to like?

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