EADS confirms that the Northrop Grumman/EADS team will not bid for the US Air Force Tanker replacement programme, following the announcement by its partner Northrop Grumman that they decided not to bid.
Five years ago EADS had partnered with Northrop Grumman, as prime contractor, to pursue the US Air Force KC-135 modernisation programme. In 2008, the team was selected and awarded the contract. Today, Northrop Grumman has decided not to submit a bid to the Department of Defense (DoD) for the KC-X programme.
The team had expressed serious concerns to the DoD and the U.S. Air Force that the acquisition methodology outlined in the Request for Proposal (RFP) would heavily weigh the competition in favour of the smaller, less capable Boeing tanker. Northrop Grumman’s analysis of the RFP reaffirmed those concerns and prompted the decision not to bid.
The source selection methodology clearly signals a preference for a smaller aircraft. This is particularly disappointing given that the Air Force previously had selected the A330-based KC-45 because of its added capability, lower risk and best value. The Defense Department’s RFP ignores the added combat capability that could be provided by the KC-45.
The A330 multi-role tanker transport (MRTT) is the most capable, low risk tanker in the world today—having been flown, tested and proven. The A330 MRTT has been selected over the Boeing tanker in the last five consecutive competitions and will shortly enter service with several US allies.
This decision does not diminish EADS’ commitment to the US, as reflected in the success of the Army’s Light Utility Helicopter. It also can be seen in the many EADS systems and capabilities that operate with the US Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard. EADS is the largest international customer for US aerospace and defence products, contributing over $11 billion dollars annually to the American economy and supporting more than 200,000 high technology jobs.
EADS acknowledges the support from the leadership of France, Germany, the United Kingdom and Spain in supporting the EADS proposal, promoting transatlantic defence cooperation as a two-way street and the interoperability that the KC-45 would offer.
EADS is a global leader in aerospace, defence and related services. In 2008, the group - comprising Airbus, Eurocopter, EADS Astrium and EADS Defence & Security – generated revenues of € 43.3 billion and employed a workforce of about 118,000.