EADS North America has decided not to challenge Boeing's claim to the KC-X contract, clearing the way for the US Air Force to launch the $3.5 billion development phase for the 767-based KC-46A.

"EADS North America has decided not to protest the KC-X contract award," EADS NA chief executive Ralph Crosby says.

EADS officials had reviewed the 24 February contract award for 179 tankers since Monday, with the right to file a protest triggering a 100-day review by the Government Accountability Office.



"The acquisition architecture was quite mechanical and mathematical," Crosby says. "The outcome was decided by price and Boeing's offer was lower than ours."

Boeing's proposed price was $4 billion less than EADS' offer, Crosby says.

The EADS concession appears to close the final chapter in the roughly 10-year KC-X contract award process. The company's KC-45 actually claimed the KC-X contract in 2008, but the GAO upheld Boeing's protest and the air force relaunched the competition.

The Department of Defense announced last week that Boeing's proposal based on the KC-767 New Gen Tanker scored a clear victory in the air force's evaluation, which focused on lowest price.

"The air force ran this competition in accordance with all of the ground rules," Crosby adds. "They certainly were very scrupulous with the details."

Source: Flight International