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22 Mar, 2010 19:14

Russia refutes US tanker bid reports

Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation has denied reports that it plans to bid on the $35 billion contract to build new aerial tankers for the US Air Force.

"This is utter nonsense. UAC is not planning to take part in the tanker tender or set up a joint venture," the Bloomberg news agency quoted UAC Chief Executive Officer Aleksey Fyodorov as saying.

The false news, broken by various media outlets, was based on the words of American lawyer John Kirkland. Kirkland also said that the UAC would announce a joint venture with an unknown US defense contractor on Monday.

The Russian company refuted Kirkland’s statements as baseless.

"The company officially announces that the media reports referring to John Kirkland's statement about the UAC participation in the tender to deliver aerial tankers to the US Air Force are false," read the company’s official statement.

Meanwhile, according to Kirkland, Hillary Clinton discussed Russian participation in the tender during her visit to Moscow. He added that the new tanker could be based on a wide-body version of UAC's Il-96 aircraft.

The RIA Novosti news agency quoted the source in UAC as saying that the “news” may have been an attempt by the American side to boost competition for the tender.

He said that in case Boeing remained the sole bidder, the Russian company could be used as a back-up participant in the tender.

Many analysts consider the “deal” with Russia unrealistic for a host of reasons, primarily political, the news agency reported.