Gallois rules out an EADS bid for the new US tanker competition

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EADS chief executive Louis Gallois has categorically ruled out any new KC-X bid from the Airbus parent - alone or with a partner. Speaking at this month's 2009 full-year company results presentation in Paris on 9 March, he stressed that the tanker decision "does not diminish our commitment to the USA", a market where EADS has ambitious growth plans.

On whether the terms of the new tanker request for proposals amounted to protectionism by the USA, and whether he thought Europe should retaliate, he said: "I am not a politician. I am a businessman. We will not compete because the RFP is based on a smaller, less capable airplane. This is giving a huge advantage to the 767. That is a fact.

"What is consequence of that? The US Air Force will not have the most modern aircraft in the world. Australia, the UK, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia will have the best plane. Everyone in the world realises [the A330-based multi-role tanker transport] is the best.

 
© Airbus Military
EADS has ruled out any offer of the A330-based KC-45

"Unfortunately it will not be the plane of the USAF for the next 45 years. Nobody said we won the [original] competition despite the fact that the competitor was better than us. It was only on a legal point that the competition was lost."

EADS North America's KC-X partner Northrop Grumman earlier this month confirmed that it would not offer the KC-45 to contest the USAF's revived requirement to buy 179 new tankers to replace its oldest Boeing KC-135s. The decision appears to have left the way clear for Boeing's proposed NewGen KC-767 to secure the deal.