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Airbus today won a Northrop Grumman-backed bid to supply a new fleet of tankers to the US Air Force in a massive defeat for incumbent supplier Boeing.
The selection of the Northrop/EADS North America KC-30 -- to be renamed KC-45 -- for the potentially $40 billion deal is expected to draw heavy opposition from US lawmakers. The contract award a possible legal challenge from Boeing’s KC-767 team.
Northrop’s team, which includes engine supplier General Electric, has campaigned for the signature KC-X contract for three years, focusing on the strengths of the larger and newer Airbus A330-200 passenger aircraft modified for the tanker/airlift mission.