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Lockheed withdraws from US Air Force tanker competition, leaving Airbus to bid alone

24th October 2023 - 14:34 GMT | by Norbert Neumann in London


Lockheed Martin has said it would shift its tanker team and resources to other programmes. (Photo: Lockheed Martin)

Airbus remains resolute in its commitment to compete for the KC-135 replacement independently after Lockheed's exit. The shift could prove advantageous to competitor Boeing, potentially boosting its chances of securing another contract with the US Air Force.

This article was updated on 25 October to include a quote from Airbus Defense and Space. 

Lockheed Martin has dropped out from the USAF’s competition to provide at least 75 refuelling tankers, potentially changing the trajectory of the programme to a significant extent.

The company joined forces with Airbus in 2018 to leverage the latter manufacturer’s A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft and offer the LMXT strategic tanker.

Lockheed’s exit from the endeavour has not deterred Airbus, who has expressed its determination to continue to compete for the KC-135 recapitalisation independently.  

‘Airbus remains committed to providing the US Air

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Norbert Neumann


Norbert Neumann

Norbert is the Aviation, Military Training & Simulation reporter at Shephard Media. Before joining Shephard in …

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