Defense Department officials are engaged in discussions with representatives of EADS North America to understand why the company would need more time to prepare a bid for the KC-X tanker contest, Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell told reporters Tuesday. “I would say those conversations are going very well thus far,” he said, adding that DOD had not made any decisions yet about extending the bidding period beyond the standing May 10 deadline for proposals. EADS NA spokesman Guy Hicks told the Daily Report Thursday that there is nothing new to report yet beyond Morrell’s comments. EADS hasn’t committed to competing for the KC-X tanker contract yet. But it is considering the idea, this time in the prime role after former partner Northrop Grumman’s departure. Morrell said DOD would still welcome offers by any qualified bidder. So far, only Boeing has formally indicated its intent to bid, he said.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.