Airbus parent EADS has received no word of any changes to a contest to supply aerial refueling tankers to the United States, the head of Airbus Military said on Monday.
A source familiar with Pentagon thinking said on Friday the United States may extend a deadline for bids on its aerial refueling tanker to give EADS an opportunity to consider whether to compete against Boeing on the project.
EADS partner Northrop Grumman boycotted the tender last week, saying the rules favored Boeing.
Airbus Military head Domingo Urena said he had nothing to add to company statements last week when EADS ruled out bidding as a team with Northrop.
You know the situation today and I think we will define the position of the company as information comes in, he said.
Company executives have said it has no plans to mount a solo bid without a U.S. partner, but have not ruled out bidding with a new partner if given more time.
Asked at a breakfast with journalists whether EADS believed it would be given more time to weigh up its options, Urena said: We have received nothing.
On the delayed A400M European airlifter program, Urena reiterated a target of 500 future plane exports. This includes a target of 200 to the United States, home to the Lockheed Martin C-130 and Boeing C-17 transporters.
But he said EADS would not rush into an export campaign, giving first priority to stabilizing the troubled program for domestic European buyers.
The A400M has been hit by delays and cost overruns, forcing European nations to step in with a 3.5 billion euro bailout including 1.5 billion to be repaid from future exports.
Urena declined to say whether EADS would partner Northrop in any A400M export drive to the United States, saying Northrop was a reference point for EADS but not the only one.
The A400M will be delivered first to France in 2013, followed by Britain and Germany, Urena said.
Urena said the company would produce 4 A400Ms in 2013 and 8 in 2014. He said 2015 would be a transitional year on the way to series production of 24 planes from 2016.
Seven European NATO nations have ordered 180 planes. The group also includes Belgium, Spain, Luxembourg and Turkey.
Malaysia is so far the only export client after South Africa to have canceled an order last year. Urena said Airbus remained in talks with South Africa to understand its reasons.
Two South African firms are involved in help to build the A400M and Urena said these contracts would be fulfilled.
He confirmed that EADS and a group of engine makers had filed claims and counter-claims over A400M delays but said there was no formal litigation.
(Reporting by Matthias Blamont, Tim Hepher; Editing by Louise Heavens)