France disappointed at Airbus' loss on U.S. military project

09:55, March 10, 2010      

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After Airbus' parent company, the European Aeronautics, Defense and Cooperation Company (EADS), announced its retreat from bidding for a U.S. Air Force project, the French government expressed deep disappointment over the loss on Tuesday.

"We note with great disappointment that the call for tenders issued by the Pentagon Feb. 25 led to de facto U.S. authorities in a dialogue with a single vendor," Foreign Ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said at a press briefing.

"We regret that the U.S. Air Force overruled the capabilities of the 'multi-role transport and tanker' Airbus A330 MRTT, on which Northrop and EADS based the offer, and whose qualities have been recognized by the Pentagon in 2008," Valero added.

He tactfully complained that the Pentagon's choice destroyed "a competitive measure guarantees the acquisition with enhanced capabilities and lower price."

The Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) is an aerial refueling tanker aircraft based on the civilian A330-200 model. It is designed as a dual-role air-to-air refueling and transport aircraft.

Airbus specially presented refitted version of the Northrop Grumman KC-45 for the U.S. Air Force, and played as a front-runner before U.S. aircraft maker Boeing jumped into the contest.

EADS' Chief Executive Officer Louis Gallois confirmed the Monday decision of Airbus, saying the abandonment of the bid "is final" after its American partner Northrop Grumman gave up the competition. Thus, Boeing would be the unique winner for the deal worth 35 billion U.S. dollars.

"France, with the European Commission and concerned European partners, will proceed to examine the new development and its possible implications," Valero said, warning of potential revenge reaction from Europe.

Source: Xinhua
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