Rockwell Collins’ CEO doesn’t expect to see the Air Force award the KC-X tanker contract this month. “It was supposed to be awarded in November, but there are very few of us now that think that date will be met,” CEO Clay Jones told investors during a conference call last week. He continued, “In fact, I’d say almost no one thinks that date will be met, so we are into another evaluation delay cycle, in that case.” Rockwell is part of Boeing’s team, which is competing against EADS North America for the $35 billion KC-X contract. The Office of the Secretary of Defense has maintained that the Air Force would pick the KC-X supplier sometime this fall, which ends on Dec. 21. Some industry sources are indicating it may be tough to meet that timeline given Tuesday’s Congressional midterm election and the potential changes in the political landscape that may come, along with the approaching holiday season. Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz said last month it’s more important to make sure the selection is done “right” rather than “fast,” reported The Hill. A Boeing spokesman told the Daily Report Monday that the company was still expecting the award announcement this fall. An EADS representative said the company continues “to interact with the Air Force as they go through the competitive process.”
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.