EADS’ Press Release On Tanker Bid

EADS North America released this press release today relative to their decision to bid on the KC-X contract.

EADS North America Intends to Submit Proposal for U.S. Air Force Tanker

ARLINGTON, VA — (Marketwire) — 04/20/10 — EADS North America announced today that it intends to submit a proposal on July 9, 2010 for the U.S. Air Force’s tanker modernization program and will offer the KC-45 — the most capable, American-built solution that is flown, proven and in production now.

EADS North America is progressing in discussions with potential U.S. partners to build a winning team in order to provide the most capable, best value solution to the Air Force.

The KC-45 is the only aircraft flying today that meets the U.S. Air Force’s tanker requirements as outlined in its KC-X Request for Proposal (RFP). The KC-45 builds on the EADS-based tanker that was previously selected in 2008 by the Department of Defense and that has won the last five consecutive tanker competitions worldwide.

“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.”

EADS North America 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 program 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 at a time when other aerospace companies are outsourcing production overseas.

“This tanker competition is all about the warfighter and the aircraft that most successfully meets their requirements. The KC-45 offers what the Air Force needs today: a modern military tanker that is in production now with deliveries beginning this year,” said Sean O’Keefe, EADS North America Chief Executive Officer. “Not only does the KC-45 offer the best value and a huge capability advantage over the competition, it also will support tens of thousands of jobs across America by expanding our nation’s industrial aerospace capacity.”

The KC-45 is the U.S. military version of the proven A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT). To date 28 aircraft have been ordered by four U.S. allies. The MRTT has transferred more than 265,000 lbs. of fuel to a range of military aircraft — from F-16 and F/A-18 fighters to the E-3 AWACS — using the same refueling systems offered on the KC-45.

“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.

“We’re progressing forward in discussions to expand the ranks of our nearly 200 current U.S. suppliers, some of which are joining us for today’s announcement,” continued O’Keefe.

At the heart of the KC-45 is the most capable aerial refueling system operating today. The aircraft’s fly-by-wire Aerial Refueling Boom System (ARBS) has a demonstrated fuel offload rate of 1,200 U.S. gallons per minute — the only system which meets the U.S. Air Force’s requirements without further modification. The system’s proven all-electric fly-by-wire technology ensures enhanced controllability and safety that greatly aids the boom operator and receiver aircraft’s pilot.

The KC-45 also carries an all-digital hose and drogue system for probe-equipped aircraft. The under-wing refueling pods are the most modern in service today, with the capability to deliver up to 420 gallons of fuel per minute through 90-ft.-long hoses at refueling speeds from 180 to 325 knots. The KC-45 will also feature a modern fuselage refueling unit, common with that of allied MRTT users such as the United Kingdom.

About EADS North America
EADS North America is the North American operation of EADS, a global leader in aerospace, defense and related services. As a leader in all sectors of defense and homeland security, EADS North America and its parent company, EADS, contribute over $11 billion to the U.S. economy annually and support more than 200,000 American jobs through its network of suppliers and services. Operating in 17 states, EADS North America offers a broad array of advanced solutions to its customers in the commercial, homeland security, aerospace and defense markets.

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Department of Defence Reacts To Northrop’s Decision Not To Bid on KC-X

Statement by Deputy Secretary William Lynn on Northrop Grumman Tanker Announcement

“We are disappointed by Northrop’s decision not to submit a bid for the U.S. Air Force tanker replacement program.

In the last tanker replacement (KC-X) competition, Northrop Grumman competed well on both price and non-price factors. We strongly believe that the current competition is structured fairly and that both companies could compete effectively.

Based on the inputs we received from both offerors to the Department’s draft Request for Proposal (RFP), we made changes to reduce the out-year risk to the potential manufacturers of KC-X. However, we did not change the war-fighters’ requirements to accommodate either offeror.

The Department strongly supports trans-Atlantic defense industrial ties and believes they benefit the American war-fighter and taxpayer.”

The statement was published here.

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Department of Defense Willing to do KC-X with only Boeing

In a post on BNET Industries, Matthew Potter notes that the Department of Defense is willing to go ahead with only Boeing bidding on the KC-X:

The Secretary of Defense Robert Gates in testimony to the House Armed Services Committee made it clear that the Defense Department and U.S. Air Force will release the Request for Proposal (RFP) for the new KC-X tanker and award a contract even if only Boeing (BA) submits a proposal. The Department hopes that the Northrop Grumman (NOC) and EADS (EADS:P) will submit a bid but will go forward with the planned contract even if they don’t.

In early December Northrop Grumman’s CEO sent a letter to the Air Force stating that due to the terms of the draft RFP they felt that it so favored Boeing that they and their partner EADS, parent of Airbus, would not submit a proposal. Northrop had won the contract in 2008 only to lose it on protest by Boeing with the Government Accountability Office (GAO) saying that the Air Force changed the requirements and was not completely fair to Boeing. An earlier attempt to award Boeing a lease for KC-767 aircraft collapsed amid scandals and Congressional desire to have contest.

Read the entire post Defense Department Willing To Do KC-X With Only Boeing Bid for more.

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KC-X RFP Questions And Answers Continue

The U.S. Air Force put out a draft Request for Proposal (RFP) in late September. It has proceeded apace with the receipt of questions related to the RFP and putting out answers. The idea is that the type of questions received should help write the final RFP to make it better and get better proposals.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports that so far two sets of answers have been put out and they already run to several pages. Considering that it is expected only the same two teams will bid it indicates the new RFP is significantly different.

This will be a long, hard slog of a contract award again.

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Just Ask The Question

One of the main reasons we created UnitedStatesTanker.com and this blog was to provide some insight into a very critical acquisition effort to replace America's air refueling tanker fleet.

For those who've been following that newly-started KC-X competition, you know the U.S. Air Force released their draft Request for Proposal (RFP) Sept. 25. This document goes into detail about the 373 requirements that must be met to participate in the competition. It also describes how proposals will be scored and even what happens in case of a tie. Our United States Tanker team has spent a great deal of time studying the draft RFP. Remember this is the main document we'll be using to decide which member of our KC-7A7 'family of tankers' to offer, or whether to offer both.

But we can't just make decisions on what's written in the document alone. Our main focus as we drive toward some key internal decisions is clarity. We must clearly understand how the service's requirements are defined and prioritized, and how our proposal will be evaluated.

So how do we get those answers? Simple...just ask.

Any company seeking to compete to build the replacement for the KC-135 Stratotanker fleet can submit questions to the KC-X Tanker Program Office at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Dayton, Ohio, and have them answered online at the Federal Business Opportunities website.

We began submitting questions earlier this month and look forward to seeing the answers posted on the public website soon. While some of that Q&A may be administrative in nature, you might gain some interesting insight into how the process works by checking out the site. Feel free to tell us what you'd ask.

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