And Then There Were Three

With only four days remaining until the due date for proposals to supply the Air Force’s KC-X tanker, there are reports that a third industry team has stepped forward and indicated its intent to bid for the multi-billion-dollar procurement contract. According to press accounts, US Aerospace, a small US company, is partnering with Ukrainian aircraft maker Antonov to offer a tanker based on the latter’s massive An-124 airlifter. The new team would go up against the two aerospace giants already in the fray: Boeing and EADS. Boeing is putting forward its 767-based NewGen Tanker, while EADS is offering an A330-based tanker platform. An entry at Flight Global’s DEW Line blog indicated that the US Aerospace-Antonov team was still assembling its complete list of suppliers, including someone to provide an aerial refueling boom. Meanwhile, Reuters news wire service reported July 2 that US Aerospace has asked the Pentagon for a 60-day extension to turn in its bid. (See also AFP report.)