That Is, If Tanker Is Selected For Fleet Renewal Plan
They don't have the contract yet...
but that doesn't mean EADS won't be ready if the US Air Force
selects the KC-30 Tanker to replace its current fleet of KC-135s.
The European aerospace consortium tells ANN the first KC-30 Tanker
designated for the US Air Force's refueling fleet modernization has
begun final aircraft platform assembly.
Drawing on suppliers in the United States and other allied
nations, final assembly of the first KC-30 Tanker platform -- based
on the Airbus A330-200 commercial airliner -- is being performed on
the final assembly line in Toulouse, France. This initial
development aircraft, designated D-1, will be ready for delivery to
the military modification line in November -- one month after the
projected contract award for the Air Force's KC-X program to
recapitalize its aging aerial tanker fleet.
EADS states the KC-30 Tanker benefits from the A330's active
production line and its fully operational industrial supply chain.
To date, more than 1,110 A330/A340s have been sold, with 800-plus
aircraft delivered to international operators and over 240 A330s in
the current backlog.
A combined US and allied industrial team has also been assembled
to produce and supply KC-30 Tankers for the US Air Force. The KC-30
is based on the A330 Multi-role Tanker Transport (shown
above), which won the last three tanker competitions to support the
air forces of Australia, the United Kingdom and the United Arab
The KC-30 Tanker carries 45,000 more pounds of fuel than a
KC-135, or Boeing's 767-based tanker variant also competing for the
USAF bid. The KC-30 is also designed to refuel Navy and coalition
aircraft, and to serve as a multi-role transport aircraft to move
passengers, cargo and medical evacuation patients.
If selected by the Air Force, the KC-30 will be assembled in
Mobile, AL by a team led by Northrop Grumman, which also includes
EADS, General Electric Aviation, Honeywell, and Sargent Fletcher.
EADS says the work would create or support more than 25,000 US