EADS to make announcement on US air tanker deal

20th April 2010, Comments 0 comments

European aerospace giant EADS said on Tuesday it will make an announcement later in the day on the 35 billion dollar contract to supply for US airforce with inflight refuelling tankers.

Currently, arch rival Boeing is the only contender for the contract.

The announcement is due to be made at 2:00 pm (1800 GMT) in Washington.

Up to now, EADS, maker of the Airbus fleet of planes, has not indicated whether it will put in a bid for the contract, saying only that it was considering its options after Washington extended a deadline for submission.

The European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co, the parent of Airbus, originally won the contract but then lost out when the US government accepted arguments by Boeing that the work should be put up for tender again.

The US Department of Defence announced on March 31 it would extend the deadline for bidding by 60 days if it received formal notification from EADS that it intended to make an offer.

EADS had asked for a 90-day extension after its US partner Northrop Grumman dropped out of the high-stakes contest, saying the contract requirements, known as a request for proposal (RFP), favoured Boeing's plane.

Boeing, which has vied for years with EADS over the tanker plane project, has accused its rival of trying to manipulate the contest.

The winner of the contract to supply 179 planes to update an aging 1950s era Boeing fleet of tankers is expected to be declared by "early fall," a Pentagon spokesman said recently.

© 2010 AFP

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