The Pentagon's Air Tanker Deal

When the American Air Force takes to the skies and needs fuel, its jets have fueled up, mid-air, forever, from American-made Boeing air tankers. You’ve seen the pictures: The long hose comes down, the jet tops up, and off it goes.

Last week, the gigantic contract to build the next generation of air tankers took off as well. It won’t be a Boeing tanker, but Europe’s Airbus topping up American military planes.

That’s a $40 billion dollar contract — maybe a hundred billion. Gone are jobs, profits, pride. Today we ask why.

This hour, On Point: American tax dollars for Europe’s Airbus for the U.S. military. Why?


Richard Aboulafia, vice president of analysis at the Teal Group, an aerospace and defense consulting firm in Fairfax, Virginia.

James Wallace, reporter for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer covering the aerospace industry, including Boeing and Airbus.

Rep. Norm Dicks, Democratic congressman from Washington’s 6th District, which includes many Boeing employees. He is a member of the House Appropriations Committee and the Defense Subcommittee.

Rep. Duncan Hunter, Republican congressman from California, ranking member on the House Armed Services Committee, and a candidate for the Republican nomination for president until January.

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