Subcontractors Include GE Aviation, Honeywell
When it comes to pitching a foreign-sourced aircraft against an
American plane for a lucrative US Air Force contract, Northrop
Grumman and European aerospace consortium EADS know what they have
to do: emphasize the "American-ness" of their Airbus-derived
On Wednesday, Northrop announced it has signed agreements with a
number of US suppliers to round out its team tasked with winning
the bid for a potential $100 billion aerial refueling contract.
Those companies include GE Aviation, General Dynamics, and
"We're extremely pleased with the team of world-class partners
we've assembled to build and integrate this highly capable and
versatile weapon system for the Air Force," said Paul Meyer,
Northrop Grumman's vice president of Air Mobility Systems and
general manager of the KC-30 Tanker program, in a release to ANN.
"In addition to being the most modern, capable tanker available,
the KC-30 provides the Air Force with flexibility to meet current
and future challenges."
The Associated Press reports Northrop says the selection of its
KC-30 -- based off the A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) --
would create 25,000 new jobs in the US. That's a big number... but
appreciably less than the 44,000 new jobs Boeing claims its KC-767
offering would garner if the American planemaker wins the bid.
Boeing's 767-sourced tanker variant is also some $30 million
cheaper than the KC-30 at list prices... but Northrop says the
price is offset by the increase capabilities of its offering, which
offers more capacity to haul troops and/or cargo than the Boeing
Boeing plans to assemble the KC-767 -- an offshoot of its 767
Freighter -- in Washington state and Kansas. While the KC-30
structure would be manufactured in Europe, Northrop stressed the
plane would be completed on US soil, and contain 52 percent
"If it's built in Alabama, it's
built in America," Northrop President and COO Wes Bush said
Wednesday, according to the AP.
As Aero-News reported, Boeing
and the EADS/Northrop partnership are the only two competitors for
the USAF tanker contract, which offers $40 billion to replace 179
of the service's aging KC-135 tankers. But that's only the first
phase; the Air Force ultimately wants more than 500 planes, and the
value of the contract will increase proportionally. The Air Force
is expected to rule on the first phase of the contract by the end
of the year.
Boeing spokesman Bill Barksdale noted 85 percent of the KC-767
would be manufactured in the US... and commented the team it has
assembled on the project has been "together for years, not
But, he added, "Our competitor has put together a solid team
that we do not underestimate."