A French Air Force KC-135 (much like what the US military uses today) refuels a Royal Australian Air Force A330

A French Air Force KC-135 (much like what the US military uses today) refuels a Royal Australian Air Force A330

With every competition, there will inevitably be a winner and a loser. Although there is a lot of excitement in the Seattle area that Boeing won the Air Force tanker contract with their 767 (KC-46A) aircraft, there are many in the Mobile, Alabama area who are very disappointed. If they won the contract, EADS planned to build their Airbus A330 based tanker (the KC-45) in Mobile. There is no word yet if EADS will appeal the decision, but they did post a statement on their website about the tanker selection. Here is their statement in full:

EADS North America statement concerning U.S. Air Force Tanker selection

Arlington, Virginia, 24 February 2011

EADS North America officials today expressed disappointment and concern over the announcement by the U.S. Air Force that it had selected a high-risk, concept aircraft over the proven, more capable KC-45 for the nation’s next aerial refueling tanker.

’œThis is certainly a disappointing turn of events, and we look forward to discussing with the Air Force how it arrived at this conclusion,’ said EADS North America Chairman Ralph D. Crosby, Jr. ’œFor seven years our goal has been to provide the greatest capability to our men and women in uniform, and to create American jobs by building the KC-45 here in the U.S. We remain committed to those objectives.’

If selected, EADS North America had committed to build the KC-45 at a new production facility in Mobile, Alabama, with a U.S. supplier base of nearly a thousand American companies.

’œWith a program of such complexity, our review of today’s decision will take some time,’ Crosby said. ’œThere are more than 48,000 Americans who are eager to build the KC-45 here in the U.S., and we owe it to them to conduct a thorough analysis.’

’œThough we had hoped for a different outcome, it’s important to remember that this is one business opportunity among many for EADS in the United States,’ said Sean O’Keefe, CEO of EADS North America. ’œWe have exceptional technology and highly capable platforms that will be invaluable to U.S. military forces, now and in the future. We have learned much through this process, developed a world-class organization in the U.S. and have earned the respect of the Department of Defense. Our commitment to our U.S. customers is stronger than ever.’

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF & FOUNDER - SEATTLE, WA. David has written, consulted, and presented on multiple topics relating to airlines and travel since 2008. He has been quoted and written for a number of news organizations, including BBC, CNN, NBC News, Bloomberg, and others. He is passionate about sharing the complexities, the benefits, and the fun stuff of the airline business. Email me: david@airlinereporter.com

Airline Livery of the Week: MGM Grand Air

Right decision.

Here is the problem – our procurement system is working against us. Airlines are retiring early 767 airframes by the score. Why don’t we repurpose those rather than build new equipment? That’s a rhetorical question because we all know that the tanker decision isn’t about the needs of the military, it’s about jobs and moving fed money to local districts. Why don’t they make this point in the media?

Hey Chris,

The KC-135 first went into service in 1957 and it is amazing they have kept them flying for so long. If the military were to convert used 767s into tankers, their lives would be much shorter.


Love the “high-risk” concept aircraft comment.

How long has Boeing been building the 767, as well as tankers????

Comon Airbus, cheap shot there……..

Pago Flyer

Will be in the MOB area Tuesday (all of March), (Orange Beach),will probably see lot of sad real estate brokers. They were counting on that contract for a mini-boom in OB and nearby beach places.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *