EADS to bid on key US tanker contract

DEFENCE aircraft manufacturer, EADS, yesterday announced intentions to formally tender a bid for a $35bn (£22.7bn) contract with the US Air Force.

The move comes months after the European defence company pulled out of a joint tender with Northrop-Grumman for the work.

Should July’s bid become successful, EADS could be awarded with the contract to supply 179 air tankers, or KC-45 planes, to the US Air Force.

Chief executive Louis Gallois confirmed yesterday EADS’ intention to submit a proposal for the work and said he was confident the group would win.

EADS and Northrop-Grumman had earlier pulled out of the tendering process, after it complained that the terms of the tender favored rivals Boeing.

Currently, under US law, EADS cannot exclusively take on the contract, which means the group is on the hunt for a US partner.

“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 Crosby, Jr of their proposal.