KC-X is the name of the
United States Air Forceprogram to procure its next-generation aerial refuelingtanker aircraft. This aircraft is intended to replace some of the older Boeing KC-135 Stratotankers. The United States Air Forceannounced on February 29, 2008that Northrop Grummanand EADSwas selected as the company who will build the new tankers with their modified A330design, to be designated the KC-45A.cite web |url=http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/businesstechnology/2004251273_webtankerwin29.html |title=EADS/Northrop trumps Boeing in Air Force tanker competition |accessdate=2008-02-29 |publisher = Seattle Times] This contract is for 179 new tankers and will be worth an estimated US$40 billion.
June 18, 2008, the U.S. Government Accountability Officesustained a protest by Boeing on the award of the contract to Northrop Grumman and EADS. [cite web | title = B-311344; B-311344.3; B-311344.4; B-311344.6; B-311344.7; B-311344.8; B-311344.10; B-311344.11, The Boeing Company, June 18, 2008 | url = http://www.gao.gov/decisions/bidpro/311344.htm | date = June 18, 2008 | author = Gary L. Kepplinger, General Counsel] On July 9, 2008, the Defense Secretary Robert Gates reopened the bidding process, but canceled the current KC-Xsolicitation on 10 September 2008. [http://www.defenselink.mil/releases/release.aspx?releaseid=12195 "DoD Announces Termination of KC-X Tanker Solicitation"] , US DoD, 10 September 2008.]
The DoD posted a
request for proposalon January 30, 2007.cite web |url=http://www.defenselink.mil/Releases/Release.aspx?ReleaseID=10463 |title=Air Force Posts Request for Proposals for Tankers |accessdate=2008-09-08 |accessdate=2007-02-16|publisher = United States Department of Defense] The U.S. Air Force's main requirements are "fuel offload and range at least as great as the KC-135", airlift capability, ability to take on fuel in flight, and multi-point refueling capability.
Two manufacturers expressed interest in producing this aircraft:
*A joint venture between
Northrop Grummanand EADS/ Airbusproposed a version of the Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT), based on the Airbus A330-200cite web |url=http://www.northropgrumman.com/kc30/|title= Northrop Grumman KC-30 marketing web site|accessdate=2007-02-16|publisher = Northrop Grumman]
Boeingproposed a version of the KC-767, based on the Boeing 767cite web |url=http://www.boeing.com/news/releases/2007/q1/070212b_nr.html|title=Boeing Offers KC-767 Advanced Tanker to U.S. Air Force|date=2007-02-12|accessdate=2008-09-08|publisher = Boeing]
In February 2007, the "Seattle Times" commented on the pre-final designs: "Northrop has been viewed as the underdog, with a heavier, less fuel efficient aircraft. The Airbus tanker would have a maximum fuel capacity of 200,000 pounds. Northrop spokesman Randy Belote said Northrop's K-30 would tack on roughly 20 percent in fuel capacity."cite web |url=http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/boeingaerospace/2003569219_tanker13.html|title=Boeing Tweaks 767 for Tanker|first=Donna|last=Borak|publisher=
The Seattle Times|date=2007-02-13|accessdate=2008-09-08]
Both competitors submitted their tanker proposals before the
April 12 2007deadline. [ [http://www.boeing.com/news/releases/2007/q2/070411b_nr.html Boeing Submits KC-767 Advanced Tanker Proposal to U.S. Air Force] ] [ [http://www.irconnect.com/noc/press/pages/news_releases.html?d=117090 Northrop Grumman Submits KC-X Tanker Proposal to U.S. Air Force] ] The competitors submitted final revisions of their proposals to the U.S. Air Force on January 3, 2008. [ [http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/story.jsp?id=news/KCX010407.xml&headline=Boeing,%20Northrop%20Submit%20Final%20Tanker%20Proposals%20To%20USAF&channel=defense "Boeing, Northrop Submit Final Tanker Proposals To USAF"] , "Aviation Week", January 4, 2008.] On 29 February 2008, the DoD announced their choice of the Northrop Grumman/EADS's KC-30. [ [http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120432006746103635.html?mod=hpp_us_whats_news "Northrop Wins Tanker Contract, Beating Out Rival Boeing"] , Wall Street Journal, February 29, 2008.]
In December 2007 it was announced that this aircraft will be designated the
KC-45Aregardless of which design wins the competition. [ [http://www.al.com/business/mobileregister/index.ssf?/base/business/1197023159104310.xml&coll=3 "Boeing, Northrop vying for KC-10 service deal"] , Al.com, 7 December 2007.] The DoD anticipated that the KC-45A would start to enter service in 2013. [ [http://www.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123088536 "New tanker to bring increased capabilities to warfighter"] , US Air Force, 3 March 2008.]
March 11, 2008, Boeing filed a protest with the Government Accountability Office(GAO) of the award of the contract to the Northrop Grumman/EADS team. Boeing stated that there are certain aspects of the USAFevaluation process that have given it grounds to appeal. [ [http://boeing.com/news/releases/2008/q1/080311b_nr.html "Boeing Protests U.S. Air Force Tanker Contract Award"] , Boeing, March 11, 2008.] [ [http://www.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123089878 "Air Force officials respond to Boeing protest"] USAF, March 12, 2008.] Their protest was upheld by the GAO on June 18, 2008, who recommended that the Air Force rebid the contract.cite web |url=http://www.king5.com/sharedcontent/northwest/pdf/gao_boeing.pdf |title=Statement Regarding the Bid Protest Decision Resolving the Aerial Refueling Tanker Protest by the Boeing Company |publisher= Government Accountability Office|date= 2008-06-18|accessdate=2008-06-18] On July 9, 2008, the Defense Secretary Robert Gates put the contract for the KC-45 into an "expedited recompetition" with Defense Undersecretary John Youngin charge of the selection process instead of the Air Force.Kruzel, John J. [http://www.defenselink.mil/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=50453 "Pentagon Reopens Bidding on Tanker Contract"] , US DoD, July 9, 2008.] A draft of the revised RFP was provided to the contractors on 6 August 2008for comments. The revised RFP is to be finalized by mid-August. Proposals are due in October 2008 and selection is planned to be done by the end of the year. [ [http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/story_channel.jsp?channel=defense&id=news/REVISED08068.xml "Pentagon Issues New Tanker Bid Parameters"] , Aviation Week, 6 August, 2008.] In mid-August, there was speculation that Boeing was considering a "no bid" position.cite web | title = Boeing Leaning Toward Not Re-bidding KC-X | url = http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/story.jsp?id=news/BOEING081108.xml&channel=defense | first = Amy | last = Butler | coauthors = David A. Fulghum | date = 2008-08-11 | publisher = Aviation Week]
On September 10, Defense Secretary Robert Gates canceled the RFP. "Rather than hand the next Administration an incomplete and possibly contested process, Secretary Gates decided that the best course of action is to provide the next Administration with full flexibility regarding the requirements, evaluation criteria, and the appropriate allocation of defense budget to this mission," a Pentagon release stated.cite web | title = The USAF’s KC-X Aerial Tanker RFP: Canceled | url = http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/the-usafs-kcx-aerial-tanker-rfp-03009/ | date = 2008-09-110| publisher =
Defense Industry Daily]
Sources: Northrop Grumman KC-30, [ [http://www.northropgrumman.com/kc30/performance/specifications.html KC-30 Specifications] , NorthropGrumman.com.] Airbus A330, [ [http://www.airbus.com/en/aircraftfamilies/a330a340/a330-200/specifications.html A330-200 specifications] , Airbus.] A330 200F, [ [http://www.airbus.com/en/aircraftfamilies/a330a340/a330-200f/specifications.html A330-200F specifications] ] KC-767 Advanced Tanker, [http://www.boeing.com/ids/globaltanker/usaf/KC_767/767AdvProdCard.pdf KC-767 Advanced Tanker product card] ] Boeing 767, [ [http://www.boeing.com/commercial/airports/767.htm 767 Airplane Characteristics for Airport Planning] , Boeing.] Civil Aircraft,Frawley, Gerard: "The International Directory of Civil Aircraft, 2003-2004", Aerospace Publications Pty Ltd, 2003. ISBN 1-875671-58-7] A330FSTA [ [http://www.airforce-technology.com/projects/a330_200/ A330-200 Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft (FSTA) - Multi-Role Tanker Transporter (MRTT), Europe] ]
Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft
* [http://fbo.gov/servlet/Documents/R/1543915/289982 "KC-X Aerial Refueling Tanker Aircraft" FA8625-07-R-6470 Request for Proposals (RFP)] .
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