In a statement issued on Dec. 2, 2009, the Office of the Secretary of Defense said it “cannot and will not change" the Air Force's KC-X tanker solicitation in a manner that would "give an advantage" to either prospective bidder, Northrop Grumman or rival Boeing. OSD's statement came one day after Northrop President Wes Bush told Pentagon acquisition executive Ashton Carter that Northrop would withdraw from the KC-X contest unless notable changes are made to the aircraft's draft solicitation. Here, an artist's rendition of Northrop's KC-45 tanker design preparing to refuel an F-22 fighter.
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