April 20 Boeing Co (BA.N) and the North
American unit of Airbus parent EADS EAD.PA are competing for
a U.S. Air Force refueling plane contract worth up to $50
Following are some key facts about the expected proposals
from Boeing and EADS, which will be due by July 9.
Boeing has said it will offer the Air Force an updated
767-based "NewGen" tanker with a digital flight deck from its
787 Dreamliner and a new fly-by-wire refueling boom.
It said the new twin-engined tanker would meet the Air
Force's 372 mandatory requirements and burn 24 percent less
fuel than the A330-based tanker that EADS will offer.
Boeing, keen to avoid the "Frankentanker" label opponents
used to describe its offering in the last competition, has
offered few details about the configuration of the new plane.
But industry sources say it will be considerably simpler
than the last one, which included parts of different 767 models
and was downgraded as possibly risky to produce by the Air
Analysts say the 767, about 159 feet long with a wingspan
of 156 feet, should be cheaper to build than the larger A330.
It is expected to have Pratt & Whitney (UTX.N) engines.
In the last competition, Boeing's 767 tanker would have
carried 190 passengers and 19 pallets of cargo.
The maximum fuel capacity would have been over 202,000
pounds, compared to around 250,000 pounds for the A330.
Boeing plans to build its 767 airplanes in Everett,
Washington and modify them for military use in Wichita,
An earlier design of 767 tanker was ordered by Italy and
Japan. Japan has received all four of its Boeing tankers and
they are in operational use.
But four years after they were due, the Italian tankers are
undergoing flight testing after running into problems with wing
flutter and integration of the hose and drogue refueling pods.
Europe's EADS is offering a tanker plane based on the
two-engined A330-200 jetliner, which is larger than the 767.
EADS says the plane is a version of the "KC-45" platform
with which it won a previous competition together with Northrop
Grumman (NOC.N) in 2008. That award was thrown out on appeal
from Boeing and Northrop pulled out of the current rematch.
The KC-45 is EADS's name for the U.S. military version of
the A330-based MRTT, or Multi Role Tanker Transport.
A total of 28 such tankers have been ordered by Australia,
the UAE, Britain and Saudi Arabia. EADS is due to deliver the
first Australian tanker this year, later than scheduled.
EADS says the plane's fly-by-wire refueling boom system has
a fuel offload rate of 1,200 U.S. gallons per minute.
The plane has a wingspan of just under 198 feet and is
almost 193 feet long.
It can carry over 250 troops or 32 pallets of cargo or
evacuate 130 wounded plus intensive care and medical staff.
It would have engines from General Electric (GE.N).
Like Boeing, EADS officials said the plane will meet all
372 requirements stipulated by the U.S. Air Force.
While the Boeing plane is said to be cheaper, EADS says the
plane it is offering carries less risk as it is already
If EADS wins, the plane will be assembled in Alabama.
(Reporting by Andrea Shalal-Esa, Tim Hepher; Editing by Tim