U.S. Aerospace and Antonov to bid for U.S. tanker

the Antonov ‘New Generation’ AN-70 - Cargo Aircraft. Photo courtesy of Antonov ASTC

Are you ready for the next round in the KC-X Tanker smackdown? Reuters reported on Friday that Antonov, the state-owned Ukrainian plane builder is joining forces with U.S. Aerospace Inc, a small cash-strapped U.S. company, to enter the hotly contested competition to build a new generation of refueling tankers for the U.S. military. Bids are due by next Friday. Boeing and EADS have been ready for months to submit bids. The Antonov/U.S. Aerospace partnership is asking the Pentagon for an extension.

Pentagon spokeswoman Navy Commander Wendy Snyder had no immediate comment on a possible extension but confirmed the department had received a request for information from U.S. Aerospace, and supported a competitive process.

“The department is committed to conduct a fair, open and transparent acquisition process. We also believe that any company that is interested and qualified to participate in this important program should do so,” she said.

Defense analyst Richard Aboulafia of the Teal Group said the new bid was “a complete waste of time,” citing concerns about the company’s finances, security matters, maintenance, and the offering of a military plane with high wings, unlike the commercial type, lower-wing plane sought by the Air Force.

EADS and Boeing declined to comment on the news.

If Boeing is awarded the contact, the Boeing NewGen Tanker would be build in Everett, creating thousands of jobs.

For more information visit the Reuters website at: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE66151N20100702?type=politicsNews

(Reported by Andrea Shalal-Esa for Reuters)

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