EADS Announces Bid on US Tanker Contract

Washington, April 21 (DPA) The European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS) plans to bid for the $35-billion contract to build the next generation of US Air Force refuelling tankers, Ralph Crosby, the chairman of EADS North America, announced Tuesday.

EADS will compete with US aerospace giant Boeing for the lucrative contract to build the first 179 aerial refuellers in what the Pentagon hopes will mark the beginning of the end of the long-running and controversial saga to replace its aging fleet of KC- 135s.

Crosby said the planes would be constructed at a planned assembly site in Mobile, Alabama, and expressed confidence his firm can defeat Boeing, which until Tuesday was the only company pledging to bid for the contract.

"It's unambiguous that we have the world's best tanker," Crosby said at a press conference in downtown Washington.

EADS decided to enter the competition more than a month after its US partner, Northrop Grumman, dropped out of the competition, complaining the Air Force's criteria favoured Boeing.

The Pentagon later granted an EADS request to extend the deadline for submitting proposals by 60 days so the Munich- and Paris-based firm and parent of Airbus could have more time to determine whether to enter its own bid.


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