Boeing and EADS North America have both submitted their final bids for the US Air Force’s KC-X tanker competition.
The Boeing proposal offers the 767 based NewGen tankers, which it asserted burns 24 per cent less fuel than EADS’s KC-45/A330 MRTT competitor. Boeing claims this will equate to “savings in tens of billions of dollars in fuel cost over the next 40 years and support 50,000 American jobs with more than 800 suppliers in more than 40 states”.
“This decision is critical to America’s national security and its manufacturing base,” Boeing chairman, president and CEO Jim McNerney said.
The widebody NewGen tanker features a “modernised” fly-by-wire NewGEN KC-10 boom with increased fuel offload rate and a modernised flightdeck featuring 787 Dreamliner digital displays.
Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and CEO noted that the company’s 767-based tanker would use “a proven low risk, in-line manufacturing approach similar to the highly successful 737-based Navy P-8A, by an already trained and highly experienced US work force at existing Boeing facilities that have delivered more than 2000 tankers and 1000 commercial 767s”.
EADS meanwhile has submitted its KC-45 proposal, which is based on the KC-30/A330 MRTT shortly due to be delivered to the RAAF, which it would build at a new production centre it would establish in Mobile, Alabama.
“We’re offering a real aircraft that has proven what it can do for our men and women in uniform, not asking the Air Force and US taxpayers to take a huge gamble on an airplane that only exists on paper,” Ralph Crosby, EADS North America chairman, said.
“We’re proud to compete on the merits of our tanker offering and support the warfighter’s right to choose the aircraft they will go to war in.”
EADS North America claims the “KC-45B will provide the Air Force substantial savings in operating costs compared to the concept aircraft that the Boeing company is offering.” It contends in”true Air Force operational scenarios” that Boeing’s “concept tanker will cost 15 per cent to 44 per cent more, measured on the basis of cost per gallon of fuel delivered”.
The USAF could announce the winning bidder to supply 179 tankers under the KC-X program this month.