Airbus and Boeing, the two companies locked in a bitter tussle over the award of a $35 billion contract for the supply of tankers to the US Air Force under the KC-X programme, may expect a final decision as early as next week.
KC-X is the name of the United States Air Force programme to procure its next- generation aerial refuelling tanker aircraft.
The Boeing Co. and the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co, the European parent of Airbus, are the two bidders in the programme building a new refuelling tanker. Airbus has formed a consortium with Northrop Grumman Corp to bid for the deal and try and win a toe-hold in the extremely lucrative US defence market.
Both Boeing and EADS have recently submitted final offers for a contract to replace the US Air Force's fleet of Eisenhower-era refuelling planes. The extremely politicised contest has been repeatedly derailed by protests and procurement scandals.
The recent mishandling of competitive data by Air Force officials has once again raised the possibility of new protests.
Boeing has built its bid around a 767 aircraft, which the company says burns substantially less fuel than the proposed EADS tanker.