It's the $35 billion question: Is Northrop Grumman going to bid for Air Force's lucrative KC-X next-generation tanker contract?
We still don't know the answer, but Air Force Secretary Michael Donley shed some light on a recent powwow he, Deputy Defense Secretary Bill Lynn and Pentagon acquisition executive Ashton Carter had with Northrop CEO and President Wes Bush and tanker boss Paul Meyer. The group met on Feb. 24 to discuss changes made to the finalized KC-X request for proposals, which was released the same day.
“Northrop indicated that they were appreciative of the changes that we made on the business side of the RFP and that they would take a careful look at the contents,” Donley said at a breakfast with reporters this morning in Washington.
After the release of the draft RFP last September, Northrop -- which has partnered with EADS North America in pursuit of the $35 billion tanker contract -- said it would not bid unless “meaningful” changes were made to the finalized proposals document.
This morning, Northrop spokesman Randy Belote said in an e-mail that he company “we continue to analyze the document and are deferring further comment until we have completed our analysis.”
Pentagon officials last week said they have a plan in place should Boeing be the only company bidding for the KC-X contract. Donley echoed those comments again this morning.
In addition to meeting with Bush and Meyer, the Pentagon officials met with Boeing Chairman, President and CEO James McNerney and Dennis Muilenburg, president and CEO of Boeing Defense, Space & Security.