Is Northrop Opting Out?

A Wall Street Journal article indicates that Northrop Grumman put the Air Force on notice last week that the service’s KC-X tanker competition could wind up with only one competitor—Boeing. Last month, the Air Force issued a clarified draft request for proposals, saying it would postpone issuing the final RFP until late this month. The clarification eliminated a major irritant for the Northrop-EADS team—linking the competition to an ongoing World Trade Organization dispute over government subsidies. According to WSJ’s “people familiar with the matter,” Northrop still feels the RFP favors Boeing by appearing to undervalue cargo-hauling capability.