Northrop Grumman to Complete Tanker Airframes in 2009
July 21, 2008
Northrop Grumman Tanker team announced that all four initial tanker System Design and Development (SDD) airframes are
scheduled for final assembly and initial flight testing by the end of 2009.
The first two SDD airframes have been built and flown, and are awaiting modification to the tanker configuration.
"As we've always said, Northrop Grumman is ready now; and having all four SDD airframes ready next year shows our
commitment to the U.S. Air Force, the Department of Defense and our Airmen who are currently forced to fly 50-year-old
tankers," said Paul Meyer, Northrop Grumman vice president and general manager of Air Mobility Systems. "While our
competitor still has not built the tanker or boom system they offered -- our configuration is built, tested and flying now -- and
selected by four other allied nations. Clearly our tanker is superior, offering better fuel efficiency, greater fuel offload and much
lower risk. It's won all five competitions against the 767."
The first SDD airframe completed final assembly and conducted first flight in 2007, while the second KC-45 airframe performed
first flight in May. The initial KC-45 contract calls for four SDD aircraft before transitioning to Initial Low Rate Production.
"New tankers are needed now, and our team is ready now," Meyer said. "The Air Force selected the KC-45, the only system that
is ready to replace the aging tanker fleet and ensure our Airmen have the very best tanker available -- and we're confident we
will be selected again."
While other companies continue to move manufacturing offshore, Northrop Grumman's tanker assembly and modification
approach reverses that trend, creating 48,000 aerospace jobs in 49 states and bringing work into the United States.
Northrop Grumman's tanker is based on the Royal Australian Air Force's KC-30B Multi-role Tanker Transport, which is on
schedule for delivery in 2009. The United States is the fifth straight country to select the A330-based tanker.