On April 19 Lockheed Martin rolled out from its Marietta, Georgia, facility the first of a new batch of special-mission Hercules for the U.S. Air Force. The company has a contract for 21 HC/MC-130Js, but this number is expected to rise to 31 (11 HCs and 20 MCs). They will replace ageing first-generation aircraft currently serving in Special Operations Squadrons.
EADS has decided to bid the A330MRTT for the U.S. Air Force KC-X requirement again, this time without a major North American partner. Ralph Crosby, chairman of EADS North America, said that the Pentagon had recognized EADS North America as a qualified prime contractor. Leaving Boeing as the sole-source bidder “harms the U.S. taxpayer,” Crosby added.
A version of the Boeing 767 dubbed “NewGen Tanker” will win the reopened U.S. Air Force KC-X competition by default, after Northrop Grumman declined to bid the Airbus A330MRTT.
Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) is proposing aerial tanker versions of business jets such as the Gulfstream G550. At the Singapore Airshow earlier this month, a company official told AIN that its small and smart tactical tanker (SSTT) is still only a proposal, aimed at reducing the costs of aerial refueling training.
Marshall Aerospace has created an Australian subsidiary to spearhead a drive for more business in the Asia-Pacific region. The British company is best known as a world-leading C-130 airframer and has provided engineering services to support the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) C-130 fleet at Richmond airbase for many years. It is exhibiting at the Singapore Airshow as part of Team Australia (Stand H65).
The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) will step up plans this year to expand its operations with the delivery of three new helicopters. First Admiral Zammani Mohd Amin, the agency’s director of Air Wing operations, told AIN that it will continue to grow.
A deal to rescue the troubled Airbus A400M airlifter has been put together. Defense ministers from the European partner nations will meet on Wednesday to approve a reduction in their orders, originally set at 180 aircraft. No more money will be made available to EADS-Airbus, beyond the €20 billion that was agreed to in 2003 to cover the development and production.
Ten weeks after the deadline for comments on the draft RFP for the latest attempt to procure a new KC-X aerial refueling tanker, the Pentagon has still not released the final document. It now says to expect this by the end of the month, and that some changes have been made. Northrop Grumman said it would not bid unless the final RFP was changed to give credit for the greater capacity of the A330MRTT (aka KC-45).
According to Airbus Military officials, the A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) has won all the recent competitions for a large aerial tanker because of its superior airframe, coupled to a unique, high-technology refueling system. “We’re very proud of our in-house boom,” said Peter Scoffham, vice president for defense capability marketing.