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Air Force Awards Boeing $35 Billion Tanker Contract, KC-45A


The Air Force has awarded a $35 billion contract to build the next generation of air refueling tankers to Boeing Co.

The U.S Department of the Air Force Thursday announced the award of an engineering and manufacturing development contract valued at more than $3.5 billion for the KC-46A aerial refueler to Boeing Co.

The first 18 aircraft will be delivered by 2017.

The Boeing Company submitted a protest to the Air Force’s decision on March 11, 2008. The protest was upheld by the GAO. The Government Accountability Office denied requests from Northrop Grumman and the U.S. Air Force to throw out Boeing’s protest the contract award to Northrup Grumman/EAD. The Northrop Grumman/EADS KC-45 was a proposed aerial refueling tanker aircraft based on the Airbus A330 MRTT (KC-30), a derivative of the civil A330-200, that originally was awarded the contract on February 29, 2008. The United States Air Force had ordered 179 KC-45As in the first stage of replacing the aging KC-135 tankers currently in service.


The Boeing Company is a major American aerospace and defense corporation, founded in 1916 by William E. Boeing in Seattle, Washington. Boeing has expanded over the years, merging with McDonnell Douglas in 1997. Boeing Corporate headquarters has been in Chicago, Illinois since 2001.

Boeing Defense, Space & Security (BDS) formerly known as Boeing Integrated Defense Systems (IDS) is a unit of The Boeing Company responsible for defense and aerospace products and services. Boeing Integrated Defense Systems was formed in 2002 by combining the former “Military Aircraft and Missile Systems” and “Space and Communications” divisions. Boeing Defense, Space & Security makes Boeing the third largest defense contractor in the world and is responsible for 51% of the company’s income in 2008. BDS is based in Berkeley, Missouri, near the city of St. Louis.

Boeing Defense, Space & Security is a consolidated group which brought together major names in aerospace; Boeing Military Airplane Company; Hughes Satellite Systems; Hughes Helicopters minus the commercial helicopter products (which were divested as MD Helicopters); Piasecki Helicopter, subsequently known as Boeing Vertol and then Boeing Helicopters; the St. Louis-based McDonnell division of the former McDonnell Douglas Company; and the former North American Aviation division of Rockwell International.

The European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company N.V. (EADS) is a large pan-European aerospace and defence corporation and a leading defense and military contractor worldwide.

Northrop Grumman Corporation is an American aerospace and defense technology company formed by the 1994 purchase of Grumman by Northrop. The company was the fourth-largest defense contractor in the world as of 2010.