First Out of the Gate

EADS North America on Thursday announced that it would turn in its KC-X tanker proposal to the Air Force later that same day, one day ahead of the Pentagon’s July 9 submission deadline. EADS is offering the KC-45, a platform based on the Airbus A330 airframe. The company is pitted against Boeing—and possibly a third tanker team of US Aerospace-Antonov—for the rights to supply the Air Force with up to 179 new tankers to replace the oldest KC-135s in the inventory. Boeing is proposing its 767-based NewGen Tanker. Boeing spokesman Bill Barksdale told the Daily Report Thursday that the company would submit its bid Friday morning. Pentagon spokeswoman Cheryl Irwin said the announcement of the winning tanker is still anticipated in the “early fall.” We’ve also heard Air Force officials speak of the November timeframe. (See also AFP report)