WASHINGTON, July 9 (UPI) -- EADS North America is moving personnel to Alabama and establishing facilities in anticipation it will win a Pentagon contract to build new KC-X tankers.
The company said it plans to have about 200 workers in Mobile to lay the groundwork for a manufacturing facility by the time the contract is awarded in mid-November, DefenseNews reported.
"We're treating this as if, come the announcement of the contract award date of Nov. 12, we're gonna win," said EADS North America CEO Sean O'Keefe during a briefing on EADS' 8,000-plus-page KC-X bid.
Ralph Crosby, former EADS North America CEO and now chairman of the board, said securing a slot as a prime contractor to build 179 large aircraft would put the company in a good position to follow-up contracts to replace the remaining Air Force aerial tanker fleet in the coming decades.
The KC-X program is an ambitious effort to replace the Air Force's fleet of aging KC-135 tankers, which were based on a commercial aircraft design by Boeing, and KC-10s. Costs are expected to hit $35 billion over 20 years.
EADS believes its Airbus A330-200-based KC-X proposal will win the contract, upsetting Boeing's proposal, which is based on its 767 aircraft.