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Boeing wins USAF's KC-46A tanker contract
Posted On: Feb 25, 2011
Next generation aerial refueling tanker KC-46A. Photo: Boeing
ST. LOUIS (BNS):
Beating its European arch-rival EADS, US defence major Boeing has bagged a multi-billion dollar contract to manufacture the next generation KC-46A aerial refueling tanker aircraft for the US Air Force.
Boeing was awarded the long-awaited contract Thursday under which it will initially deliver 18 combat-ready tankers to the USAF by 2017.
The USAF is estimated to spend over $30 billion in total to procure 179 such planes. The new tankers will replace the existing fleet of KC-135 tankers from the service.
"We're honoured to be given the opportunity to build the Air Force's next tanker and provide a vital capability to the men and women of our armed forces," Jim McNerney, Boeing chairman, president and CEO, said.
According to the company, KC-46A will be a multi-mission tanker, which would based on the proven Boeing 767 commercial airplane and meet all requirements at the lowest risk for the war-fighter. The wide body, multi-mission aircraft will be updated with latest and most advanced technology and would be capable of meeting the Air Force's needs for transport of fuel, cargo, passengers and patients, Boeing said.
The multi-billion dollar deal, issued by the US Air Force in 2007, had received bids from Boeing and EADS which had tied up with Northrop Grumman to offer its aircraft based on the Airbus A330 tanker model.
The later won the contract the following year which, however, was protested by Boeing resulting in the programme's cancellation.
The US DoD had again reissued the contract in September 2009. Boeing and EADS, without Northrop, had put forward their proposals in response to it.
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