Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) released the following statement after being briefed this morning on the Air Force’s Request for Proposals (RFP) for the aerial refueling tanker:

“I am pleased to see that the Department of Defense and the Air Force are moving forward with Request for Proposals (RFP) for the aerial refueling tanker.  It is critical that we replace our current aging fleet and provide the warfighters with a new tanker that will meet their current and future mission requirements.

“After several delays, the new RFP seems to have addressed a number of concerns raised in the last round of bidding, and will factor in the operation costs of the aircraft over its service life. Though the changes are minor between the draft and the final RFP released this afternoon, the RFP seems to more clearly lay out the overall criteria being used in the selection process and will help clarify the bidding process.

“As the Air Force moves towards the goal of awarding a contract in September, I will continue to follow the process closely to ensure the competition is fair, open, and transparent so that all proposals are evaluated on equal merit. Any contract awarded must provide the best product to support our men and women in uniform in the most cost effective way possible.

“Again, I am happy to see that the Air Force is now moving forward with providing our men and women in uniform with this vitally important piece of equipment. I hope that the new RFP will lead to an equitable and open tanker competition and ensure the mistakes of the past are not repeated.”