SOURCE: Tanker War Blog

March 21, 2008 14:27 ET

Tanker War Blog Alert: the U.S. Air Force's New Tanker Cannot Refuel the V-22

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwire - March 21, 2008) - The following statement is being issued by Tanker War Blog:

The United States Air Force recently awarded a contract to build its new aerial refueling platform to the European defense consortium EADS. Incredibly, sources inside the Pentagon reveal the EADS design is unable to refuel the service's revolutionary new tilt-rotor V-22 aircraft.

According to a "Key System Requirements Comparison" compiled by the Air Force and acquired by TankerBlog.com, while the Boeing tanker provides refueling options "throughout the entire flight envelope," the EADS plane provides "no tilt rotor refueling... "

This is a shocking deficiency. The V-22 currently plays a major role flying reconnaissance and resupply missions with the Marine Corps in Iraq, and has logged more than 2000 flight hours since being deployed to the theater in April 2007. It is becoming crucial to U.S. operations.

Tanker War Blog's sources inside the armed services tell us that the Marine Corps and Special Operations community, both of which appreciate the V-22's unique capabilities, are up in arms over the EADS plane's glaring tactical shortcomings.

Furthermore, by committing billions of taxpayer dollars to and aerial refueler incompatible with its aircraft, the Air Force is running the risk of repeating the 1980 Desert One fiasco. In this operation, designed to rescue U.S. hostages from Tehran, a Navy Sea Stallion helicopter collided on the ground in Iran with a C-130 Hercules that was attempting to refuel it. Eight American servicemen died.

The V-22 was built to address concerns that arose from the disaster. It can take off and land vertically and can make long-range incursions into hostile territory, obviating the need for risky on-the-ground staging areas. If it cannot be refueled in-air by the USAF's newest tanker, however, these strengths are essentially reduced to nil.

The Air Force and the Defense Department owe it to our men and women in uniform to construct a tanker capability that maximizes the warfighting and operational effectiveness of its aircraft. Anything else will be a waste of money, and quite possibly, lives.

About Tanker War Blog

Tanker War Blog has been created by those who have concerns about the awarding of the USAF tanker contract to the European consortium EADS. The blog is moderated by Mike Reilly, who spends his days at the Center for Security Policy, and a bipartisan group of legislative assistants who spend their days -- and most nights -- working on Capitol Hill.

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