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Report: Air Force scrambled to level playing field in tanker data mess-up

The U.S. Air Force scrambled to level the playing field after it mistakenly sent crucial data to Boeing about EADS and to EADS about Boeing regarding their bids to replace aging refueling tankers, the Seattle Times said.

Boeing initially was at a disadvantage, because it received but did not look at the data it had gotten after recognizing from the labeling it was to go to EADS and not them.

But EADS didn’t realize the mix-up until after it looked at the spreadsheet it received on the mission performance of Boeing’s 767 tanker, the Seattle Times said.

So that neither side could claim bias, the Air Force sent the corresponding spreadsheet to Boeing with data on EADS’ Airbus A330 tanker. And it gave EADS back the data on Boeing.

The spreadsheets contained in the disk was produced by the Air Force and quantified the effectiveness of one proposed tanker in a series of mission simulations, the Seattle Times said.

An Air Force computer model for various mission scenarios works out how many airplanes of the proposed type would be needed for each mission, where they would be based, how far they would have to fly, and how well they could meet the fuel demands of combat aircraft, the Seattle Times said.