Congress Continues To Try And Micromange KC-X Process

In the latest move by Congress to try and get the U.S. Air Force and DoD to consider the WTO rulings on EADS (EADS:P) subsidies, legislation has been introduced that will require at least a report by the Pentagon on their affect on the competition.

Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA) (No shock there?) is trying to amend the 2011 Defense Authorization Act to require the Air Force to detail the advantage the subsidies gives EADS prior to issuing the contract. Since the DoD cannot consider the ruling in awarding the contract this at least gets a record out of the effect (if any) on the contest.

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Now Reports That EADS May Bid After All

There is a rumor that the Pentagon may delay the deadline for submission of a proposal for the KC-X to accommodate either a solo bid or another partnership. This contradicts what was reported yesterday that EADS-NA CEO Sean O’Keefe said the company wouldn’t bid without Northrop Grumman (NOC). It will be seriously difficult for the company to bid by itself. It would need to find another U.S. company to work with.

This might be second thoughts by DoD as they realize how difficult doing a single bid contract award will be. This is not a sole source contract but right now it would only receive one qualified offer.

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Reports That Northrop Won’t Bid

It is being reported that Northrop Grumman (NOC) will not submit a proposal in response to the new KC-X RFP released at the end of last month. Supposedly the announcement will be made after the markets close. Northrop had written to the DoD in December saying they most likely would not without changes in the RFP to make it fairer to the Airbus 330 based aircraft.

There is no word on whether EADS will find another partner or bid by themselves for the $35 billion contract.

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New Group Advocating For Split Tanker Buy

The Washington Post writes today about a new group buying advertisements to support the concept of buying KC-X tankers from both Boeing (BA) and Northrop Grumman (NOC). The group is called “Build Them Both” and its financiers have so far remained private. The idea of a split buy was floated last year but despite the ability to produce aircraft faster the related logistical costs are so high that the Air Force and DoD won’t consider it.

The article may be found here as the second part of the post.

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Alabama Keeps Pushing The Air Force

Supposedly in a meeting between DoD and Air Force officials with members of the Alabama Congressional delegation it came out that the U.S.A.F. will adjust the KC-X RFP to keep Northrop Grumman (NOC) and EADS (EADS.P) in the competition. This of course is a report by Senator Sessions (R-AL) from the meeting. There is no official response as to how the U.S. officials will react to Northrop’s threatened non-participation.

It is in the best interest of the U.S. Government to have two bidders for this program and this may be a necessary step to assure that.

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