BREAKING NEWS—Another 60 Days

The Defense Department is willing to extend the deadline for proposals for the KC-X tanker contest by 60 days from May 10 to July 9 if EADS provides formal notification of its intent to bid, Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said Wednesday during a special press briefing. He characterized this as “a reasonable extension.” Given that fielding a new Air Force tanker is “long overdue” and DOD does not wish to slip its delivery date any further, Morrell said DOD is prepared to compress the bid-evaluation period “to stay as close to the original award schedule as possible.” That timetable calls for awarding the KC-X contract around mid-September. He said “no one should confuse” the Pentagon’s willingness to extend the bid deadline “with willingness to change any of the plane’s military requirements or the way bids will be evaluated.” Politics played no role in this decision, he said.