Could Mobile be in the refueling tanker competition again? Airbus to respond to Air Force request


MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Officials with Airbus say they will respond to an Air Force request for yet another refueling tanker aircraft. The Air Force posted a sources-sought notice on the government’s acquisition and awards website,

The notice comes after the service began using Boeing’s KC-46 refueling tanker only two years ago. Boeing’s development of the new refueling tanker was at the heart of a competition between the company and the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company (EADS), the parent company of Airbus, more than a decade ago. EADS initially won the competition for the $35m contract in 2008 and planned to build the plane in Mobile.

Three years later, the Pentagon reversed course amid heavy political pressure and awarded the contract to Boeing. Airbus subsequently announced plans to build a final assembly line in Mobile to assemble A320 commercial aircraft.

Now, the Air Force is looking at adding another tanker to its fleet after on-going problems with Boeing’s KC-46, according to published reports. Those reports cite problems with the aircrafts ‘Remote Vision System’ (RVS) software that allows the operator to see the fueling system below the aircraft.

Now, Airbus has indicated it will respond to the Air Force’s request for a new tanker as the service looks to replace it’s aging KC-135 tanker that has been in service since the 1950’s.

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