Replacement, Not Modernization

Sean O’Keefe, head of EADS’s North American operations, said Tuesday he hasn’t seen indications yet that the Air Force desires major technological improvements in the new KC-X tanker over what it already possesses in the KC-135. “The current draft request for proposals is not a tanker modernization program, it is just a replacement program,” O’Keefe told journalists, reported the New York Times (may require free registration). EADS is Northrop Grumman’s principal teammate in trying to secure the KC-X contract. O’Keefe reiterated that the language in the draft solicitation places the Northrop team at a disadvantage since it would not properly assess the capability of the team’s KC-30 tanker design that goes beyond the baseline requirements. He repeated the team’s threat not to submit a bid unless the final version of the RFP, due for release within weeks, reflects changes that give would his team a “fair” chance.