GAO rejects US Aerospace tanker appeal

Washington DC
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Contract award for the US Air Force's KC-X tanker deal will not be disrupted by a protest filed by US Aerospace.

The US Government Accountability Office has rejected the California-based company's attempt to nullify the competition between Boeing and EADS North America for the 179-aircraft tanker contract.

“This legal decision by GAO’s attorneys concludes that the US Aerospace proposal to build the KC-X tanker was received after the deadline for the receipt of proposals. Consequently the air force acted appropriately in rejecting the proposal,” it says.

US Aerospace filed the protest after the USAF threw out its bid, which was based on the proposed Antonov An-112KC. The company had claimed that the air force intentionally delayed a bonded messenger's attempt to deliver its proposal before a 14:00 deadline on 9 July.

US Aerospace director Michael Goldberg says the company is disappointed by the GAO's decision, but looks forward to bidding on other future USAF requirements.

The announcement came just days after Antonov president and general designer Dmitry Kiva had said the firm still expected to take part in the KC-X tender process. This will now be played out between the Boeing KC-767 NewGen Tanker and the Airbus A330-200-derived EADS NA KC-45.