Just ahead of its US rival Boeing, European planemaker EADS has put in its formal bid to build a fleet of US Air Force aerial-refuelling aircraft.
The plane it is proposing for the politically sensitive multi-billion euro contract is based on the Airbus A330 passenger jet and would be assembled at a new US facility in Mobile, Alabama.
In February 2008 EADS won the original competition to supply these planes but that was overturned after Boeing successfully argued that the Air Force had made several errors that could have affected the awarding of the contract.
US Defence Secretary Robert Gates expressed confidence that the final outcome would be viewed as fair and transparent.
He added: “I am very optimistic that this time we will be able to get on with it.”
But there was a setback for EADS with the World Trade Organisation delaying until September a ruling on alleged improper US subsidies given to Boeing.
EADS had hoped the report would blunt Boeing’s allegations that the A330 was only made possible by illegal European subsidies.