Rather misleading article headline, don't you think? "Battle" and "expressions of interest" hardly seem synonymous to me, especially considering that the tanker contract seems destined for nowhere at the moment. Both Lockheed-Martin and Northrup-Grumman have stated they are not interested in partnering with EADS in this, limiting EADS' possible options.
Regardless of the KA
-330's technical merits, it will be difficult for them to win this contract unless they are prepared to make far more substantial investments than that already mentioned. An assembly line to modify "green" a/c built in Europe is nowhere near good enough for a contract potentially for 500+ frames and worth well over 20+ billion USD. If 100% industrial offsets are required to cover the acquisition costs of such a large number of non-productive capital items, EADS isn't even in the ballpark yet.
It will, however, be interesting to see how this plays out. While I have no issue with the USAF
acquiring the KA
-330, it should be done ONLY if it benefits the USAF
, the US taxpayer and the US economy. Anything less is not worth it.