The Boeing Co. could end up with a rival for the Air Force tanker after all. EADS said Friday it is assessing whether it will compete on its own.
EADS’s partner for the $35 billion tanker contract, Northrop Grumman, dropped out of the competition earlier this month, leaving the European company without a U.S. contractor.
But the Pentagon has said it would “welcome” a bid from EADS on its own, the company said in a statement posted on its Web site Friday morning.
“EADS is assessing this new situation to determine if the company can feasibly submit a responsive proposal to the Department’s request for proposal,” the the company said.
On Thursday, EADS’ CEO had said a tanker bid was “unlikely.” But the Pentagon’s willingness to consider a “reasonable” extension to its deadline, and its welcoming of EADS’ as a sole contractor, seems to have changed EADS’ mind.
EADS has said it would like to enter the U.S. market, and the tanker gives the company that opportunity.
The company still expressed concerns that the Air Force’s requirements favor Boeing’s smaller 767-based tanker.
The Boeing Co. is expected to offer the Air Force a 767-based tanker. This is the Air Force’s third attempt at replacing 179 of its KC-135 tankers.