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The KC-45 will be the designation for the new tanker aircraft which will replace the KC-135 fleet in the United States Air Force. The USAF will choose between the Boeing 767 Advanced tanker and the EADS Airbus A330MRTT.

From the results of the first competition which ended on 29 February 2008, the USAF has awarded EADS to deliver the A330MRTT. Boeing protested the award which became validated by the US council.

The competition was re-opened in July 2008 but was soon be closed. A new competition will be opened during the Obama president years.
The participating companies are Boeing with the KC-767 Advanced tanker and the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Agency (EADS) together with the American company Northrop Grumman with the A330MRTT. The B767 advanced tanker is an improved version of the existing B767 tanker. The EADS A330MRTT is a US version of the current A330MRTT which is developed on the basics of the commercial Airbus A330-200.

The new KC-45 will be the most important USAF tanker aircraft for the next decades. It will refuel aircraft like the F-22 Raptor, F-35 Lightning II, E-3 Sentry, E-8C JSTARS, B-2 Spirit and the B-52 Stratofortress.
The current contract includes an order for 179 new KC-45 aircraft with a total value of 35 billion dollars.

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Last updated: August 7, 2010