US, Ukraine Firms Tie Up For Pentagon Tanker Contract Bid

NEW YORK, NY -- A US aerospace company on Friday announced a tie-up with a state-owned Ukraine aircraft maker to bid on the Pentagon's 35-billion-dollar contract to supply aerial refueling tankers.

A hand-out computerized picture of a refueling tanker.

US Aerospace, Inc. said it had entered a "strategic cooperation alliance" on Thursday with Antonov Company, in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

"Under the terms of the agreement, Antonov will be responsible for design, construction and manufacture of aircraft. We will be responsible for coordinating the bidding process, negotiating and contracting with customers, and coordinating with defense sub-contractors for specialized systems," the small California company said in the filing.

But the press office at Antonov refused to comment on the matter and said it was unaware of the agreement.

The alliance provides the Ukrainian state firm, a top cargo plane maker, with the sale of its aircraft, products and services in the US, the filing said.

US Aerospace said the alliance would be dissolved if the partners, which are not only interested in supplying the Defense Department with 179 tankers, obtain no contract within five years.

If they enter the tanker race, where bidding is due by July 9, the team will compete against US aerospace giant Boeing and European rival Airbus, the world's leading aircraft maker.

The Pentagon is expected to name the winning bid in a few months in the long-running contract battle, which has pitted Boeing against Airbus for seven years.

US Aerospace, according to documents on the SEC website, is the new name for New Century, adopted in April.

In May, the company reported a quarterly net loss of 1.8 million dollars and 7,205 dollars in cash as of March 31.

Source: AFP