EADS to submit proposal for USAF tanker
EADS North America announced today that it intends to submit a proposal for the U.S. Air Force’s tanker modernisation programme and will offer the KC-45, which is based on the A330 MRTT.
After previous partner and prime contractor Northrop Grumman pulled out in early March, EADS North America is progressing in discussions with potential U.S. partners to build a new team. Press reports indicate that heavyweights like Raytheon and L-3 have declined to join the European company.
EADS North America says it will build and modify the KC-45, along with A330 commercial freighters, at an EADS North America/Airbus production facility to be constructed in Mobile, Alabama. The KC-45 programme and aircraft production/modification center will create and support tens of thousands of high-value American jobs while making a long-term investment in the nation’s economy.
“We will offer a modern, more capable tanker in response to the Defense Department’s decision to encourage competition for this major taxpayer investment,” said EADS North America Chairman Ralph D. Crosby, Jr. “Our KC-45 is the only real, flying, low-risk solution that today meets the demanding Air Force air refueling requirements and is actually in production now. That fact is critical because our warfighters deserve a true best value solution. Our aircraft has demonstrated its unparalleled capability by refueling a variety of military aircraft utilizing both boom and hose and drogue systems, as well as by operating in the receiving position. That’s a statement our competition can’t make,” said Crosby.
The Royal Australian Air Force will receive the first A330 MRTTs later this year. Additional aircraft are in production or undergoing mission-equipment outfitting for the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.