Reports of Other Bidders for KC-X Emerge?

Over the weekend it was reported that the Russian state owned aircraft company, United Aircraft, might be interested in bidding on the KC-X proposal. With Northrop now planning on not participating with EADS only Boeing was left as a confirmed bidder. Russia was about the only other country that had the capability to submit a proposal as they have already made tankers for themselves, India and other users. The thought though of Il-76 based tankers fueling F-22 is sort of hard to imagine. Documents provided to the Seattle Times show that United Aircraft would team with a World Aviation Maintenance to form a new company to bid. The proposal would be based on the Il-96 airliner rather then the older transport tanker already in service.

At the same time there are reports that EADS may submit a bid with themselves as the prime. Earlier this month the company said that it was not confident of being able to do this. EADS-North America could certainly be used as a prime contractor. The time needed for the company to prepare a proposal of this magnitude is why there is talk of extending the deadline three months.

It would be good for the U.S. Defense Department and Air Force to have some form of competition in the latest attempt to award this contract. Whether the Russian or EADS based bids would be viable is another matter. It is going to be difficult though to award what amounts to a sole-source contract with the mood in Congress of many Northrop and EADS supporters.


  1. buyouself Said,

    March 22, 2010 @ 6:23 pm

    Hold ever! I believe I remember hearing Boeing crying about EADS being subsidized by mother France. Well, who do you think the Russian aircraft company is owned and funded by? Yes, that will be USSR. So, if you hear that Boeing welcomes this bid effort than we have another disconnect. Boeing only wants someone else to bid the program because if no one does than a possible split buy will be in order. If another company submits a bit and is thrown out for what ever reason then Boeing can claim that proper bidding efforts would have been achieved. So Boeing would win even though this company should be barred from competing on this contract based on their past performances and illegal win history.

  2. BishoiH Said,

    March 23, 2010 @ 6:04 am

    Buyouself obviously is stuck in a timewarp. The USSR doesn’t exist, and hasn’t done for the better part of 20 years. Since all of the bidders receive overt of back door subsidies from their governments (as all defence industries do), there is no genuine reason to eliminate any bidder on these grounds.

    The main concern for the US in purchasing a non-NATO solution is likely to be strategic and organisational rather than commercial. Sourcing from a non-NATO supplier, especially given the state of Russian-NATO relations raises issues of what would happen to the ongoing support and maintenance contracts aircraft in event of a full-scale rift developing between Russia and NATO?

    This problem is so obvious I think the Russian bid is more likely a means to display and draw attention to the capabilities of their aircraft to other potential buyers, and underscore UACs role as a major player, than seriously hope to win the US contract.

    As for EADS, I think it’s just the usual concerns over a possible public reaction if the solution can’t be seen as being “100% Made in the USA”.

  3. Russians to Bid for KC-X? US Aerospace Says Yes Said,

    July 2, 2010 @ 4:55 pm

    […] aerial tanker program. US Aerospace will propose a system based on Antonov platforms from Russia. There had been earlier rumors that the company would team with Ilyushin to offer a variant of the IL-86 airliner for this, but […]

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