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Lockheed Withdraws Plans to Bid for Air Force’s KC-135 Recapitalization, Eyes Next-Gen Tanker Program

Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) has dropped plans to compete for the U.S. Air Force’s KC-135 aerial refueling fleet recapitalization program after it decided not to respond to a request for information.

Lockheed partnered with Airbus on the recapitalization program, offering the LMXT strategic tanker based on the latter’s A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport design.

In June, the Lockheed-Airbus team selected GE Aerospace to supply a propulsion system for their proposed LMXT tanker.

In a statement published Monday, Lockheed said it is shifting resources and the team working on the proposed LMXT tanker to other priority initiatives and new opportunities, including the Air Force’s Next-Generation Air-Refueling System program.

In February, the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center started soliciting information on NGAS to meet future aerial refueling mission requirements. 

Defense News reported that Airbus will still pursue the KC-135 recapitalization effort and will respond to the RFI.

The Air Force originally planned to acquire 150 tankers for the recap effort’s second phase but decided to reduce its planned acquisition to 75 aircraft.

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