Wednesday, March 31, 2010

DTN News: Pentagon Offers EADS 60-Day Tanker Bid Extension

DTN News: Pentagon Offers EADS 60-Day Tanker Bid Extension Source: DTN News / Reuters (NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON, U.S. - April 1, 2010: The Pentagon said it would extend the deadline for bidding on a huge U.S. refueling plane contract by 60-days if European aerospace giant EADS (EAD.PA) formally advises that it plans to bid. Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell told reporters on Wednesday that a decision was expected from EADS within the next several weeks. Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell briefs the Pentagon media on the status of the KC-X tanker program. *EADS quickly responded that it had told U.S. officials that it needed a 90-day extension to the May 10 deadline, the minimum time needed to prepare a bid. Nevertheless, it would consider the 60-day extension. EADS is deciding whether to bid against Boeing (BA.N) for the multibillion-dollar tanker contract after its U.S. partner, Northrop Grumman (NOC.N), pulled out of the race. EADS and Northrop won the previous U.S. Air Force tanker contest in February 2008, but the Pentagon canceled that deal after government auditors upheld a Boeing protest. Northrop withdrew from the latest competition saying the terms of the contest clearly favored the smaller 767-based tanker being offered by Boeing over the A330-based tanker being offered by Northrop and EADS. Guy Hicks, spokesman for EADS North America, said the company has carefully assessed the many requirements necessary to participate in the tanker contest. "We have firmly indicated that a 90-day extension would be the minimum time necessary to prepare a responsible proposal for this $40 billion program. We will consider the Department's decision to offer a 60-day extension."

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal-Esa; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)

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