There’s No Holding ’Em Back

With or without the official release of the analysis of alternatives for replacing USAF’s elderly KC-135 tankers, defense contractors expect to see a competition. Jumping into the tanker wars is Northrop Grumman, which has aligned with EADS North America to seek prime contractor status to produce the Northrop version of an aerial refueler—the KC-30. The European aerospace firm, EADS, is parent to Airbus, which had been plying its A330 commercial jet as a competitive option to Boeing’s 767 airframe. EADS recently selected Mobile, Ala., as the site for its North American assembly site for an aerial refueling version of the A330. Northrop plans to brief on its tanker offering at 2:30 p.m. on Sept. 12 at AFA’s Air & Space Conference in Washington, D.C.