LOS ANGELES, March 4 (UPI) -- Northrop Grumman's chairman says he is "excited" about winning the U.S. Air Force air tanker contract over Boeing.
Northrop Grumman announced Friday that it had "been selected by the U.S. Air Force to provide the KC-45A aerial refueling tanker for the KC-135 tanker replacement program. The Air Force's KC-45A is based on the highly-successful A330 commercial airframe, produced by EADS."
"We are excited to partner with the Air Force for their number one acquisition priority, the KC-45A Tanker," said Ronald D. Sugar, Northrop Grumman chairman and chief executive officer. "Northrop Grumman's vast expertise in aerospace design, development and systems integration will ensure our nation's war fighters receive the most capable and versatile tanker ever built. The Northrop Grumman KC-45A tanker will be a game changer."
"The initial KC-45A contract provides four System Design and Development aircraft and is valued at $1.5 billion. The first KC-45A airframe completed its first flight on Sept. 25, 2007 and will now begin military conversion to the tanker configuration. The KC-45A's Aerial Refueling Boom System is currently in flight test and has successfully performed numerous in-flight contacts with receiver aircraft," Northrop Grumman said.
"Clearly the U.S. Air Force conducted a thorough and transparent competition in choosing their new tanker, which resulted in selection of the aircraft that best meets their current and future requirements," said Gary Ervin, corporate vice president and president of Northrop Grumman's Integrated Systems sector.
"By selecting the most capable and modern aircraft, the Air Force has embraced a system that provides a best-value solution to our armed forces and our nation," he said.
"The KC-45A Tanker aircraft will be assembled at new, state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities in Mobile, Ala., and will employ 25,000 workers at 230 U.S. companies. The KC-45A's refueling systems will be built at new facilities in Bridgeport, W.Va., and delivered to the KC-45A Production Center for aircraft integration," Northrop Grumman said.
"The KC-45A will be built by a world-class industrial team led by Northrop Grumman, and includes primary subcontractor EADS North America and General Electric Aviation, Sargent Fletcher, Honeywell, Parker, AAR Cargo Systems, Telephonics and Knight Aerospace," the company said.