August 2012

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Tanker Decision Imminent

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The multi-year, multi-billion dollar, multi-role KC-X Tanker contract could be awarded as early as today, following a meeting of the Pentagon's Defense Acquisition Board (DAB) responsible for signing off on the plan for the United States Air Force's 179 new aerial tankers.

The initial contract for either Boeing 767 or Northrop Grumman/EADS/Airbus A330 aircraft is worth up to $40 billion, with follow on contracts that could total as much as $100 billion.

According to industry analysts, Boeing is thought to be the odds-on favorite for the tanker deal. A lot is at stake for both manufacturers including the future of the 767 line in Everett, as well the potential establishment of a tanker/freighter production line in Mobile, AL for Northrop Grumman, EADS and Airbus.

UPDATE 3:02 PM: All indications point to the decision being announced Wednesday afternoon. The announcement will kick off with the notification of Congress, followed by contractor notification over the following hour, concluding with a formal announcement at the Pentagon at 5:00pm.

UPDATE 12:11 PM 2/27: The Malaysia Sun has "reported" that EADS and Northrop Grumman have won the USAF tanker contract. No word yet if they were able to generate the required 1.21 gigawatts for the return trip.

UPDATE 3:06 PM 2/27: Reuters is reporting that an announcement, according to a US official, is now expected Friday following the closure of the US Markets. Curiously, I noticed this morning that all the Tanker advertising from Boeing and Northrop Grumman had been removed from the Pentagon Metro stop.

FlightBlogger will be following the Tanker deal developments throughout the week.

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