EADS Mulls New KC-X Tanker Bid–but Why?
EADS may bid alone for the U.S. Air Force KC-X requirement, or with a new American partner. The Pentagon extended the deadline for responses to its final request for proposals (RFP) by 60 days. But Secretary of Defense Robert Gates made no concessions to allegations by EADS and former partner Northrop Grumman that the RFP was skewed in favor of Boeing’s smaller 767 tanker. Last January, EADS North America chief Sean O’Keefe said that “the KC-X RFP is not a tanker modernization any more; it is a replacement of the KC-135 exactly...there’s no recognition of beyond-baseline value.” EADS North America did not respond to AIN’s query about the logic of a new bid under these circumstances. It may be that the European company is hoping that transatlantic political pressure will force a change in the bidding terms. French president Nicholas Sarkozy raised the subject with President Obama during their White House meeting last month. L-3 Communications is rumored to be EADS’ favored candidate for a new partnership.