Boeing, rival to Northrop Grumman and EADS in the KC-X competition, played down EADS’s announcement about co-location of Airbus A330 freighter production at the KC-30 assembly plant. “Only the US Air Force can comment on how—or if—this 11th-hour Airbus/EADS announcement may impact their decision,” said Boeing spokesman Bill Barksdale. “It’s important to note that moving an entire production line from France adds time and complexity to production. Whether or not the governments that control EADS will permit such a move remains to be seen, given those governments’ apparent desire to keep the EADS tier one supplier base in Europe.” Overall, said Barksdale, “we think this move simply highlights the inherent inefficiencies of their production approach relative to ours.”
In a nighttime ceremony contrived to continue concealment of many of its features, the new B-21 bomber rolled out of Northrop Grumman's Palmdale, Calif. plant Dec. 2. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the aircraft's advanced technology represents "deterrence, the American way."