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EADS Submits Tanker Bid, Battle Lines Drawn

Late Tuesday night, European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company (EADS) announced that it would submit a bid proposal for the roughly $40 billion Air Force KC-X Tanker contract.  This move is the latest in what has been a string of high-profile developments for the beleaguered program, which is the top Air Force acquisition priority.

With EADS formally in the competition, the stage is set for a vicious battle between two of the world’s largest aeronautics companies for what is currently the industry’s most sought-after—and expensive—military contract.  At a recent Seattle machinist union fund-raiser, House Appropriations Defense panel Chairman Norm Dicks (D-WA) urged EADS to refrain from entering the competition and assured the union representatives that “there is no greater friend of the working men and women in the state of Washington than Norm Dicks.”

Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-KS), who represents a Kansas district where Boeing would potentially manufacture the tanker, recently criticized EADS for its use of European government subsidies as a source of funding, noting that “there will be a lot of requests for clarification and possibly legislation to make sure we have a level playing field.”  EADS is not as well-represented on the Hill, but that could change if it decides to partner with an American company the way it did with Northrop Grumman in the last contract competition.

The Air Force will likely go to the Hill in early May to defend their FY 2011 budget request, and the tanker competition will surely be a subject of intense interest.

To read more, please go to The Politico.


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