Boeing faces a tough decision, now that the Pentagon has confirmed that bigger is better in the KC-X tanker competition. “We’ve now revised the language to make it unambiguous that we intend to provide consideration above threshold for fuel offload,” said U.S. director of defense procurement and acquisition policy Shay Assad. He spoke at a press briefing on August 6, to introduce the draft revised request for proposals (RFP).
Northrop Grumman rates its chances of clinching the KC-X contract as only 50 percent, if the US Congress intervenes in the decision. Paul Meyer, who heads the company’s bid team, told Aviation International News of his confidence that the Pentagon would select the KC-45 again second time round. But he fears that protectionist sentiment could overturn the verdict.
Northrop Grumman rates its chances of clinching the KC-X contract as only 50 percent, if the U.S. Congress intervenes in the decision. Paul Meyer, who heads the company’s bid team, told Aviation International News of his confidence that the Pentagon would select the KC-45 again the second time around. But he fears that protectionist sentiment could overturn the verdict.
One of Northrop Grumman’s growing family of mine countermeasures has advanced to the flight-trial phase. The company installed the airborne surveillance, target acquisition and minefield detection system (ASTAMIDS) in a modified UH-1H Huey for its first flight, at Melbourne, Florida, on April 30, with the aim of achieving low-rate initial production next year.
Northrop Grumman’s defensive systems division has been awarded a $93 million contract to supply its large aircraft infrared countermeasures system for the RAF’s Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft program. The systems will be supplied to Thales UK, one of the members of the AirTanker consortium that is supplying 14 A330-200 aircraft for the FSTA requirement.
Northrop Grumman’s X-47B UCAS-D carrier-borne unmanned combat air system demonstrator is currently undergoing sub-system checks before final assembly for a first flight date in November next year. Having been developed at El Segundo, the first X-47B (AV-1) is now at Palmdale, California, where the vehicle’s centerbody/inner wing structure is essentially complete.
Boeing still believes that the KC-767 is the right-size airplane to meet the KC-X tanker requirement, despite the U.S. Air Force’s selection of the larger Airbus A330MRTT, now voided. “I’m not convinced that they want a bigger airplane,” Chris Chadwick, president of Boeing Military Aircraft told AIN as the show opened.
The U.S. KC-X tanker win in February was a major breakthrough for EADS (as part of the Northrop Grumman team), which has established operations in Mobile, Alabama, already and started to relocate A330 freighter activity there, too. But the champagne corks are back in after the U.S. GAO in June upheld seven points in Boeing’s protest at the U.S. Air Force procurement.
After a wave of strategic acquisitions in recent years, L-3 has significantly boosted its presence as a systems integrator in complex defense programs. Alenia’s new C-27J Spartan military transport for the U.S. Joint Cargo Aircraft contract, which made its first flight last month, is L-3’s biggest task to date. The U.S.
The U.S. Navy’s choice of Northrop Grumman to provide the Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) platform, using a new version of the Global Hawk UAV designated RQ-4N, has prompted a protest from competitor Lockheed Martin. According to Lockheed Martin, its bid was less than Northrop Grumman’s $1.1 billion proposal. Lockheed bid the Mariner UAV based on the Predator B, in cooperation with General Atomics.