And the rest is history.
The KC-46 is a better airplane and coming on line right now. NGC/EADS won the contract the first time around because the Air Force acquisition people pre-selected them and cheated the source selection in their favor. Believe me, Boeing never would’ve won that award protest unless they had court-level proof that the process was corrupted. Guess what? They did. Not that I think Boeing is wonderful, but I don’t want the builders of the A380 building our tankers. There were a lot of rookie mistakes done on the A380 and the band-aid fixes are scary.
And if you think American union labor is a pain in the ass, try dealing with French union labor that, by law, can only work 30 hrs/week and will only talk to you once a month through their embassy. I’ve had to deal with Messier-Buggatti on their aircraft carbon brake discs, so I know a little something about this.