A bid to replace the U.S. Air Force’s aging tanker fleet will move forward even if Northrop Grumman and its European partner, EADS, fail to submit a bid, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said today, according to a Reuters story.
“Obviously we would like to have a competition for it, and we hope that both companies will agree to participate, but we will move forward,” Gates told the House Armed Services Committee, when asked how the Pentagon would respond if one of the companies did not bid. “We have to have new tankers.”
Northrop Grumman has said it won’t submit a bid unless significant changes are made to the final request for proposals for the tankers.
The Air Force plans to issue the final RFP sometime this month and select a winner for the $35 billion contract this summer.