Death of Pentagon Official Might Delay KC-X Award

 - October 17, 2007, 5:29 AM

The death of the Pentagon’s second-highest-ranking procurement official on October 15 could well delay the crucial decision on whether Boeing or Northrop Grumman/Airbus wins the U.S Air Force KC-X tanker competition. [Tanker competition a real dogfight] Charles Reichers was found dead at his home, having apparently committed suicide, according to a brief announcement by the Pentagon. He recently attracted adverse scrutiny for taking temporary paid employment with a research institute that conducts studies for the Air Force, while he awaited confirmation to the acquisition post. That post was once held by Darleen Druyen, who was convicted of improper association with Boeing, while deliberating on an earlier Pentagon attempt to acquire new tankers for the Air Force. The winner of the KC-X competition was due to be announced at the end of this month, but even before Reichers’ death, there was speculation in Washington that the decision would be postponed until at least January, or even until after the presidential election next year. Northrop Grumman is proposing the “KC-30,” a version of the Airbus A330. Boeing has proposed a version of the 767.