US Aerospace, Inc., a heretofore inconspicuous US aerospace and defense contractor, announced Tuesday that it has entered into a strategic cooperation agreement with Antonov, the Ukrainian state-owned aerospace giant, to compete for the Air Force’s KC-X tanker contract. We first reported yesterday that this was a possibility. The new team joins Boeing and EADS North America in the tanker contest. “Together we can deliver the US Air Force a superior tanker at the most competitive price,” said Jerrold Pressman, US Aerospace chairman. The US-Ukrainian pair says it will offer the Air Force three Antonov tanker models: the AN-124-KC, AN-122-KC (a twin-engine AN-124-100 variant), and AN-112-KC (an updated airframe designed specifically to meet KC-X requirements).Antonov would build the airframes in Ukraine, with final assembly at a new US Aerospace facility in the US. No word yet who will supply aerial refueling booms for these tankers. (See also Seattle Post-Intelligencer blog entry)
The Collaborative Combat Aircraft will be operational in the late 2020s, several years before the Next-Generation Air Dominance family of systems, Air Force officials told the House Armed Services tactical aviation panel. The CCAs will first be “shooters,” then electronic warfare platforms, then sensors, in that order, they added.