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Northrop Grumman KC-45: Why We Won - Survivability

Fiel image.
by Staff Writers
Washington DC (SPX) May 15, 2008
The U.S. Air Force found Northrop Grumman Corporation's (NYSE:NOC) bid to build the next generation of aerial refueling tankers superior to Boeing's in four of the five most important selection criteria.

Despite this fact, the losing bidder wants the Government Accountability Office to overturn the Air Force decision to award the contract to Northrop Grumman even though the Air Force conducted what even Boeing described as a fair, open and transparent bidding process.

Here is another reason Northrop Grumman won, drawn from a list of facts included in a redacted version of a protected Air Force selection document.

Survivability
Survivability is one of the nine key performance criteria established in the Request For Proposal, and the Air Force established a set of over 200 survivability requirements spanning a wide range of threats.

Among the requirements: Armor to protect crew members from small arms fire, systems to reduce the risk of fuel tank explosions, long-range threat warning systems with integrated displays, and anti-missile systems designed to thwart surface-to-air missile attacks.

Both the KC-45 and the KC-767 will be much more survivable than the KC-135, which today has no self-protection systems. Boeing claims that its proposed aircraft is more survivable, but the fact of the matter is that the Air Force found that Northrop Grumman's KC-45 satisfied the Air Force's overarching survivability Key Performance Parameter requirements and had NO assessed weaknesses.

Moreover, additional protective equipment and systems could be added at low risk and cost without reducing the amount of fuel or cargo the KC-45 can deliver.

Survivability was not the only criteria, but one of many. The Air Force had to balance survivability against other capabilities, criteria and cost to ensure that our warfighters got the best overall aircraft to execute the mobility mission.

The KC-45's unique combination of increased capabilities adds to aircraft survivability and crew safety in other ways. The KC-45's greater range means that it can efficiently and effectively refuel aircraft further from threats to forward bases.

Its increased capability means it can accomplish refueling and airlift missions with fewer aircraft in the battle theater. The KC-45's capability to execute tasks more efficiently using fewer aircraft means fewer crewmembers will be placed in harm's way.

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Groundbreaking For The KC-45 Tanker Manufacturing Facilities Set For June 28
Washington DC (SPX) May 14, 2008
Northrop Grumman and its key subcontractor, EADS North America, will join local, state and federal officials and the citizens of Mobile, Ala., in a groundbreaking ceremony on Saturday, June 28. Ground will be broken at Mobile's Brookley Field, where two adjacent manufacturing facilities will be built to produce the nation's new fleet of aerial refueling tanker aircraft.







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