EADS North America Turns in Proposal Today

EADS North America, the American subsidiary of EADS (EADS:P), turned in their proposal for the KC-X aerial tanker today to the U.S. Air Force. This represents their second attempt to win the program and the Air Force’s third try.

EADS North America will base their program on a modified Airbus A330 transport aircraft. As with the previous attempt in 2008 they will assemble the aircraft at a facility in Mobile, AL. Then they will receive the necessary modifications to meet the U.S. requirements. Airbus will also assemble all of their A330 transports at this new facility if EADS does win the contract when it is awarded in November.

Boeing (BA) will also turn in their proposal by tomorrow. A third contended, U.S. Aerospace, has committed to submit a proposal by Friday if the Air Force does not grant their extension request.

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Alabama Senators Not Happy With New RFP

In an article in The Mobile Press Register Senators Shelby (R-AL) and Sessions (R-AL) make it clear that they are not happy with the new RFP. Shelby says “The final RFP discredits the integrity of the entire process,” and Sessions seems to feel that Northrop Grumman (NOC) won’t bid. He laments the lack of competition in the process.

This of course is not a surprising reaction as Northrop and EADS planned to assemble the basic A330 aircraft in Mobile, AL and then integrate the military systems at a Northrop facility.

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Alabama And Mississippi To Unite For Aerospace Lobbying, KC-X

The Governors of Alabama and Mississippi, Bob Riley and Haley Barbour, have launched an effort to establish a non-profit organization to lobby for aerospace in the Gulf Coast area. The two Republicans hope that Florida and Louisiana will join their efforts to “create a world-class aerospace, space and aviation corridor from Panama City, Fla., to Louisiana.” Those four state already have a great deal invested in support to NASA. The hope is that the organization will help gain more contracts and investment in the area for aerospace. Their first target is the KC-X tanker contract which will be assembled in Mobile, AL if Northrop-Grumman and EADS win.

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Alabama Expresses Pessimism On KC-X

The Northrop Grumman and EADS team will build their tanker in Mobile, AL if they win the contract again. Last year when they had done so before the Boeing protest the plant was ready to go. This means that the team has the support of Alabama’s politicians and media. Senator Sessions had tried to get language inserted into a defense funding bill that might have helped Northrop but lost that vote.

Now the Mobile Press-Register has an article where the experts they interviewed question the structure of the new draft RFP and how it may be unfair to Northrop and EADS. It is certainly true that a focus on price over capability might affect the Air Force’s source selection but it may be too early to tell that. Plan on seeing more articles supporting the local favorite in Alabama media.

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EADS Renames Facility In Mobile

The EADS facility in Mobile, AL was renamed the Airbus Military North America facility from EADS CASA North America. This plant will be used to assemble the A330 tankers that will be militarized by Northrop Grumman if that team wins the KC-X contract again. The plan to use an empty factory has gained the company a great deal of support from Alabama politicians.

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