A new job advertisement inadvertently confirms EADS North America’s serious intention to use Airbus platforms to compete for a variety of Boeing 707- and 747-based platforms flown by the US Air Force.
The advertisement posted on the EADS-NA web site, dated 21 August, seeks candidates for a position titled “Business Development Director (tanker & derivative aircraft)”.
The fifth bullet point under a description of position responsibilities states: “Anticipate and provide analysis and marketing strategy for Airbus platforms which could compete for Air Force programmes, such as E-4B, JSTARS, AWACS and other C2ISR Platforms”.
The existence of such a role reveals new details about EADS-NA’s ambitions to grow beyond the KC-X tanker replacement contract in the US market.
Northrop Grumman and EADS are teamed for the second round of the KC-X competition. The USAF’s original decision to pick their KC-30B proposal over the Boeing KC-767 was over-ruled by the US Government Accountability Office, which cited several procedural mistakes in the USAF’s acquisition process.
The winner of the KC-X competition is in a strong position to compete for other 707-based aircraft in the USAF fleet, including the Boeing E-3 airborne warning and control system (AWACS) and the Northrop Grumman E-8C Joint Surveillance and Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS).
The USAF also operates the RC-135 Rivet Joint for electronic surveillance missions. The E-4B is the only 747-based platform on the list.
Last year, both EADS and Airbus also confirmed that the USAF had requested information about several aircraft types, including the A380, to replace the VC-25 Air Force One fleet.