In today's big aerospace news, Ukrainian aircraft builder Antonov is teaming with a little known California based company, U.S. Aerospace, to pitch different variations of an aerial refueling tanker for the multi-billion dollar KC-X tanker competition, reports Defense News' John Bennett. His sources said Antonov, which builds the world's largest cargo planes, plans to enter the massive four-engine An-124-100, a two engine lifter known as the An-122 and a new design purpose built to KC-X specs called the An-112.
Antonov's entries, if legit, would compete with Boeing's 767-based tanker and Airbus' A330. Bennett reports that U.S. Aerospace would handle negotiations with the government on Antonov's behalf. The U.S. company claims it has done business with the military before and that it builds aircraft structural components and precision machined parts.
Defense Tech pal Stephen Trimble has never heard of U.S. Aerospace, which is saying something as Trimble knows the aerospace sector like few others. He's also a bit skeptical about Antonov's offerings, finding little evidence of an An-112 aircraft, and isn't quite sure why the enormous An-124 is being pitched: "perhaps in the unlikely case the US Air Force decides it needs a four-engine tanker slightly larger than the C-5 to replace the KC-135E."
-- Greg Grant