Russian Company Set to Send in Bid for Air Force Tanker Program
In what is being viewed as another interesting twist to the currently ongoing tale to replace the Air Force's rapidly aging fleet of aerial refueling tankers, reports are that Russia's United Aircraft Corp. is looking to place a bid on the contract worth a whopping $40 Billion.
A Russian Government owned aerospace firm, United Aircraft will look to offer a tanker version of its Ilyushin Il-96 wide-body jetliner, christened the Il-98, as has been speculated by a source. The planes would, for most part, be built in Russia itself, and the assembling will be undertaken in the US.
United will reportedly join hands with a "small U. S. defense contractor", which will then be renamed as the United Aircraft Corp. America Inc. The name of the contractor has not been disclosed yet.
"UAC will publicly announce by Monday morning the signing of the joint venture agreement for the first of what is hoped to be many opportunities in the US", says John Kirkland, a Los Angeles-based attorney representing UAC.
While not delving into any further details, a Pentagon spokeswoman asserted that the "Department of Defense remains committed to a fair and open competition and welcomes proposals from all qualified offerers".