In what can only fall into the “wow” category, Lockheed Martin–the USA’s #1 defense contractor–praised the US Air Force for looking beyond the US shores in awarding the KC-X tanker contract to a consortium consisting of Northrop Grumman and France’s EADS, the parent of Airbus.
In a speech, yes, before a European audience, Lockheed’s chairman had this to say:
“The decision by the USAF to purchase Airbus tankers reinforces the openness of U.S. markets and is the most recent example of the growing willingness of the United States to look to global sources of supply for vital equipment. While our company is not involved in the Tanker program, Lockheed Martin is involved in a number of significant transatlantic programs.”
The highly unusual nature of one US defense contractor praising a decision like this can’t be considered anything but a blow to Boeing’s long-running campaign about the USAF awarding this contract to a “French” company (notwithstanding that the contract is actually to Northrop Grumman).