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Northrop Grumman Assembles Powerful Industrial Team To Produce KC-30 Tanker Air Refueling Aircraft For U.S. Air Force


Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) has assembled a powerful industrial team to produce the KC-30 Tanker air refueling aircraft for the U.S. Air Force.

“We’re extremely pleased with the team of world-class partners we’ve assembled to build and integrate this highly capable and versatile weapon system for the Air Force,” said Paul Meyer, Northrop Grumman’s vice president of Air Mobility Systems and general manager of the KC-30 Tanker program. “In addition to being the most modern, capable tanker available, the KC-30 provides the Air Force with flexibility to meet current and future challenges.”

Partner companies on Northrop Grumman’s KC-30 Tanker program include EADS (European Aerospace Defence and Space Company), GE Aviation, Sargent Fletcher, Honeywell, Smiths Aerospace, Parker Aerospace, AAR Cargo Systems, Telephonics Corporation and General Dynamics.

Northrop Grumman selected EADS as an exclusive partner and principal subcontractor in September 2005. EADS will provide the aircraft-the A330-200-and the air refueling boom system for the KC-30. “We’re very proud to participate on the Northrop Grumman-led KC-30 team,” said John Young, president and CEO of EADS North America Tankers. “The A330-200 is a proven platform, and combined with the EADS boom, offers the U.S. Air Force a low risk solution to meet its demanding refueling and multi-mission requirements.”

Northrop Grumman conducted a rigorous downselect process to choose the best engine at the lowest risk for the KC-30. As a result of that process, Northrop Grumman selected and consequently formed an exclusive partnership with GE Aviation to provide the CF6-80E1 engine to power the KC-30 Tanker. The highly reliable and efficient CF6-80E1 engine has amassed more than 3.6 million flight hours powering A330 aircraft.

“We’re excited to be part of the KC-30 team and look forward to leveraging our successful relationship with Northrop Grumman on other programs, such as the B-2,” said Russ Sparks, president of GE Military Systems. “The CF6-80E1 engine is an excellent fit for the KC-30 and its mission.”

Northrop Grumman’s KC-30 Tanker carries 45,000 more pounds of fuel than a KC-135, providing a significant boost to the U.S. Air Force’s global reach. The KC-30 is also designed to refuel Navy and coalition aircraft, and to serve as a multi-role transport aircraft to move passengers, cargo and medical evacuation patients. The KC-30 incorporates defense systems, precision fly-by-wire technology, and the ability to integrate a communications suite and a global support network.

The KC-30 will be assembled in Mobile, Ala., and is based on the highly reliable, commercial A330 aircraft. The A330 platform was selected in the last three tanker competitions to support the air forces of Australia, the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates.

The KC-30 will be Northrop Grumman’s entrant in the U.S. Air Force’s KC-135 Tanker Replacement Program, KC-X. A final request for proposal for the KC-X competition is expected in April, with contract award targeted for the last quarter of 2007.


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