Northrop Grumman will not bid for $35 billion worth of work replacing U.S. Air Force KC-135 tankers.
Company CEO Wes Bush says the following:
After a comprehensive analysis of the final RFP, Northrop Grumman has determined that it will not submit a bid to the Department of Defense for the KC-X program. We reached this conclusion based on the structure of the source selection methodology defined in the RFP, which clearly favors Boeing's smaller refueling tanker and does not provide adequate value recognition of the added capability of a larger tanker, precluding us from any competitive opportunity.
This means Boeing will be the only option if Congress isn't going to cram a dual-buy strategy down the Pentagon's throat (and with former HAC-D Chairman Rep. John Murtha from Pennsylvania gone now that is unlikely). It is unlikely his successor, Rep. Norm Dicks, a longtime Boeing supporter from Washington state, would support that idea.
Meanwhile, U.S. Air Force officials have declined to comment and the OSD hasn't returned calls to inquire about how the decision will impact the procurement process.
EADS officials made clear in their public statement that the decision not to bit was Northrop's. "Northrop Grumman's analysis of the RFP reaffirmed those concerns and prompted the decision not to bid," said Ralph Crosby, Chairman of the Board of EADS North America, which would have supplied Airbus A330's for the Northrop bid.
EADS has not provided an answer to the question of whether the company would go it alone or pursue a partnership with another U.S. prime.