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The tanker war

June 25, 2008

Re "Tanker ruling favors Boeing," June 19

Neither the Northrop Grumman Corp. nor the Boeing Co. aircraft would meet all requirements for aerial refueling. Their strengths and weaknesses are complementary.

For example, the larger Northrop tanker, having higher capacity and longer loiter time, is better suited for covering the vast Pacific area. The smaller Boeing tanker could be accommodated by more air bases worldwide and has better survivability. A modified Northrop aircraft could transport more cargo but might not be able to land in the war zone.

Perhaps the best plan for the Air Force is to procure a mix of Northrop and Boeing tankers and match the aircraft to the mission.

Edward Gray

Los Angeles

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