Sporty Business

EADS North America formally announced Tuesday that it will pursue the KC-X tanker program, with itself as the prime contractor. Company officials, speaking at the National Press Club in Washington, said their KC-45 is a maturing design with a new refueling boom which is well into testing, vs. Boeing’s Next GenTanker, which they called an “artist’s concept.” Sean O’Keefe, EADS North America CEO, noted the program’s “fixed price development” status, which he called “a really sporty proposition” for a competitor without a well-vetted design. He suggested that the Boeing entry will cost more because of the practical unknowns involved with designing a new airplane “from scratch.” Company chairman Ralph Crosby said the KC-45, with more than five years of development, construction, and testing, and with five competition wins under its belt, will prevail. The company has 80 days to meet the July 9 bid deadline extension. (EADS North America release)