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Boeing Speaks About Glass Cockpit

UPDATED: Boeing tanker and mobility guru Chuck Johnson spoke with us about the glass cockpit one day after we posted our original story. Video of our interview can be viewed below.

It's a major addition to Boeing's entry in the tanker competition -- perhaps the biggest change -- but Boeing is keeping information about the glass cockpit very close to its chest.

One source tells us categorically that Boeing did not include the cockpit in its bid. We pressed Boeing spokesmen on the issue and they referred us to the July 9 press statement announcing their bid. It says their new tanker includes "a digital flight deck featuring Boeing 787 Dreamliner electronic displays and a cockpit-design philosophy that places the pilot in command rather than allowing computer software to limit combat maneuverability."

UPDATED: Boeing tanker and mobility guru Chuck Johnson spoke with us on camera about the glass cockpit one day after we posted our story. Johnson said the company is using the cockpit because it is the most modern available. He also noted that much of the work on the tanker cockpit would focus on fusing large amounts of data, far more than is needed by most commercial planes

DoD Buzz filmed the cockpit of the new 787 here at Farnborough and we spoke with Boeing officials about the cockpit. It is clearly a highly sensitive issue for them as they have proven deeply reluctant to discuss any details of the cockpit, especially the risks -- or lack thereof-- of integrating the new systems on the 767. It is, they aver, competition sensitive.

One Boeing source pointed us to the press release and said, "that's as far as we will go."

The key issue seems to be whether the cockpit will be shifted to the new tanker in toto or whether some "displays" will come from the 787 Dreamliner.

Buzz readers who know something about the cockpit are encouraged to better inform us and the taxpaying public as to just what is at stake here and why.

Meanwhile, Boeing continued to hammer away at the larger size and weight of the EADS NA offering, the modified A330. It is, Boeing tanker guru Chuck Johnson noted during his briefing today, 40 tons heavier than the Boeing offering. With that comes higher fuel costs and swelling milcon costs, Boeing claims. Below, you'll find a short film illustrating Boeing's main points.

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