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Fri, Dec 04, 2009

Murtha Presses For Split Tanker Contract

Says EADS-Northrop Withdrawal A "Blow" To Tanker Program

Pennsylvania Congressman John Murtha (D), chair of the House Appropriations defense subcommittee, expressed serious concerns about Northrop Grumman's threat to pull out of the tanker competition over the wording of the RFP. “I can’t imagine they can do it without competition,” he said.

Rep. John Murtha

The Hill reports that if Boeing is the only bidder on the KC-X contract, it would be contrary to Congress's preference to have competition for all major defense contracts. Replacing the aging KC-135 tankers is likely to be worth about $40 billion to the winning contractor.

Murtha still favors a split contract, which would allow both Boeing and Airbus to provide tankers to the Air Force. Under Murtha's plan, three tankers would be built each month, two of which would be built by the top bidder.

The Pentagon has stated that the process will be fair and transparent. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said that the RFP is not locked down, and that comments on the process will be taken into consideration before the final RFP is issued, likely in January.

FMI: www.murtha.house.gov, www.dod.mil

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