In his latest brief Tanker Controversy: Questions the Air Force Must Answer Dr. Thompson specifically he calls into question:
1) Why the Air Force says both planes will cost the same to operate when the Airbus plane "burns over a ton more fuel per flight hour"?
2) How can the Air Force say that building the EADS/Airbus tanker presents the same risk when the EADS plant in Alabama and its workers don't yet exist?
3) How can the unrealistic assumptions used in the Air Force selection such as longer and stronger runways be relevant?
4) How can it be said that EADS/Airbus have record of superior past performance when they don't have a history of making tankers?
Dr. Thompson ends his brief with this assessment on the tanker selection process:
Whatever else this process may have been, it definitely was not transparent. Even now, neither of the competing teams really understands why the competition turned out the way it did. It would be nice to hear from the Air Force about how key tradeoffs were made, because at present it looks like a double standard prevailed in the evaluation of the planes offered by the two teams.
It is good to see that others are no longer simply accepting the DoD party line and are beginning to ask serious question about the tanker contract.
For too long EADS supporters have tried to paint questions about the selection as whining, or insults to the integrity of the U.S. Air Force, or even as slaps in the face of service members. EADS and its supporters are pained to admit it, but they must realize that demanding answers to these questions is good for the Air Force and is the only way we will get the right procurement decision.