EADS CEO Louis Gallois has said he believes that EADS will win the US aerial refuelling tanker contract.

He told German tabloid Bild he would even bet that Airbus’s parent company would eventually be chosen by the Pentagon.

“We have a real chance of winning,” Gallois said. “We have the better plane.”

EADS North America has submitted a proposal for the $50bn USAF tanker modernisation programme, offering its KC-45 for the competition.

EADS’s original US partner on the project, Northrup Grumman, recently pulled out of the race, accusing the US procurement process of favouring domestic supplier Boeing, and leading to speculation that EADS would pull out of the race all together.