WASHINGTON, D.C., Feb. 14, 2008 (PRIME NEWSWIRE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) announced today that comprehensive analyses indicate that its KC-30 Tanker proposed to the U.S. Air Force in the KC-X Tanker Replacement Program can provide the service more than $55 billion in cost savings over 40 years -- almost $1.4B per year -- compared to its competitor, the KC-767 Advanced Tanker (AT).

"Our analyses clearly demonstrate that the more capable KC-30 would provide the Air Force and American taxpayers significant savings in the areas of refueling, airlift operations and support costs, and C-17 fleet life savings compared to the KC-767AT," said Paul Meyer, Northrop Grumman vice president and general manager of the KC-30 Tanker program. "Using the Air Force methodology for calculating capability, the KC-30 can meet refueling demand using just 80 percent of planned flying hours compared to the less capable KC-767AT."

Refueling Savings of $18.1 Billion over 40 years

The Air Force plans to buy 179 tankers. The more modern and fuel-efficient KC-30 offers about 20 percent more capability than the KC-767AT. That means that the KC-30 can meet the same refueling requirements flying 20 percent fewer hours. The result is $452 million per year in Operation & Support (O&S) savings compared to the KC-767AT.

Airlift O&S Savings of $17.5 Billion over 40 years

Compared to the KC-767AT, assuming all its hours flown are dedicated to meeting refueling demand, the KC-30's 20 percent additional flying hour allocation could be used to reduce stress on the over-tasked airlift fleet, particularly the newer C-17. C-17s are currently flying approximately 250 more hours annually per aircraft than planned, which generates increased operations and support costs. The vast majority of the cargo delivered is palletized, which can be carried on the multi-mission KC-30.

The Air Force could employ the KC-30's remaining flying hours to keep C-17 flying hours at planned levels. The KC-30 is a more efficient aircraft with lower hourly O&S costs than the C-17 due to its aerodynamic design and large cargo floor (32 pallets versus 18 on the C-17). Each KC-30 sortie can do the job of approximately 1.8 C-17 sorties. The resulting annual O&S savings would amount to $437 million per year.

C-17 Fleet Life Savings $19.7 Billion over 40 years

The increased usage of the C-17 not only costs more in O&S but also requires the Air Force to replace its airlift fleet sooner than planned. The cost per flight hour is calculated by dividing the acquisition cost by the airframe's hourly life. The KC-30, with a lower acquisition cost and more than three times the airframe life of a C-17, would enable the Air Force to reduce C-17 flying hours and delay replacement. Using the KC-30's additional 20 percent available flying hours would enable the Air Force to avoid $492 million per year in C-17 fleet recapitalization spending.

Total estimated savings from refueling, C-17 O&S, and C-17 recapitalization are $55 billion.

The KC-30 Tanker aircraft will be assembled in Mobile, Ala., and the KC-30 team will employ 25,000 American workers at 230 U.S. companies. It will be built by a world-class industrial team led by Northrop Grumman, and includes EADS North America, General Electric Aviation and Sargent Fletcher.

About the KC-30: Northrop Grumman's KC-30 Tanker carries 45,000 more pounds of fuel than a KC-135 or KC-767AT, providing a significant boost to the U.S. Air Force's global reach. The KC-30 is also designed to refuel Navy and coalition aircraft, and to serve as a multi-role transport aircraft to move passengers, cargo and medical evacuation patients. The KC-30 incorporates defense systems, precision fly-by-wire technology, and the ability to integrate a militarized communications suite and a global support network.

Northrop Grumman Corporation is a $32 billion global defense and technology company whose 120,000 employees provide innovative systems, products, and solutions in information and services, electronics, aerospace and shipbuilding to government and commercial customers worldwide.

  CONTACT:  Randy Belote
          Northrop Grumman Corporation
          (703) 875-8525