If it wins the US Air Force (USAF) KC-Y bid, Lockheed Martin will use two facilities in America to produce the aerial refueling aircraft, the company announced Monday.
Named the LMXT, the tanker is a variant of the MRTT (Multi Role Tanker Transport), an A330-200 jetliner converted for this task and currently operating in 14 air forces.
According to Lockheed, the assembly of the aircraft will be done by Airbus in Mobile, Alabama. The A330-200 will then be transferred to Marietta, Georgia, where it will receive conversion work for aerial refueling.
The company has reinforced the message that the LMXT will be a US-focused program in order to avoid a nationalist wave that culminated in the cancellation of a previous competition, won by the MRTT, but which ended up with Boeing and the KC-46.
“Establishing this production work in Alabama and Georgia confirms Lockheed Martin’s commitment that the LMXT will be built in America, by Americans, for Americans,” said Lockheed Martin Chairman, President, and CEO James Taiclet.
In this regard, Airbus, a partner of Lockheed Martin, has agreed to transfer the widebody assembly line from Europe to its facility in the southern US, where it currently manufactures the A220 and A320.
The work of adapting the A330 into MRTT is currently carried out by Getafe, a Spanish subsidiary of the group, but in the case of the LMXT, although part of the conversion is similar, it will be up to Lockheed to carry out the task in the facilities where the C-130J is currently assembled.
The USAF’s KC-Y competitor is called the “Bridge Tanker” because it is a transition order for a new unmanned aerial refueling aircraft program.
The Air Force must complete the delivery of 179 KC-46s and then introduce the selected aircraft into the KC-Y program by 2029. The requirement could reach 160 aircraft, according to initial information.