OT: Boeing Loses Out on Air Force Tanker Deal

Northrop Grumman gets $40B deal to replace Air Force tankers STORY HIGHLIGHTS NEW: Air Force will brief Boeing on why its proposal wasn't chosen
Northrop Grumman chosen over Boeing to build new refueling tankers for Air Force Northrop and partners basing new tankers on the Airbus A330 One partner has announced it will open a plane assembly plant in Alabama Next Article in U.S.
From Mike Mount CNN
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The U.S. Air Force on Friday announced one of the largest military acquisition programs in U.S. history, saying the service had chosen Northrop Grumman over Boeing to replace its aging air refueling tanker fleet.
"We look forward to partnering with them as we continue to defend our great nation in the future," said Secretary of the Air Force Michael Wynne.
The announcement was a surprise to many in the business industry who expected Boeing to be favored over the company, which will use a European company's airframe, Airbus, for the tanker.
The $40 billion deal to start replacing 179 tankers -- known as the KC-45A program -- will expand to over $100 billion to replace the entire fleet of almost 500 planes, Pentagon officials said.
Boeing proposed a tanker based on its 767 commercial airliner, while Northrop -- working with Boeing arch-rival Airbus and its parent company, European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company (EADS) -- offered a model based on the Airbus A330 airliner, which is larger than the 767.
To sweeten the deal, EADS announced it would put a plane assembly plant in Mobile, Alabama, if the company won the contract.
Boeing, a U.S. company, builds planes in the state of Washington.
"We had two very competitive offers in this competition," said Sue Payton, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, briefing reporters after Wynne made the announcement. "Northrop Grumman clearly provided the best value to the government."
Payton said "debriefings" were planned for both competitors, and declined to say where Boeing's offer fell short until after that happens, sometime on or after March 12.
"We owe it to Boeing to give them the first debrief on this," she said.
The Air Force has been trying since 2001 to replace the tanker fleet, which has some planes close to 50 years old, according to Air Force statistics.
The average age of the fleet is more than 24 years, while the average age of a U.S. commercial airline fleet is just over nine years, according to Air Force officials.
It will take several years to get the new KC-45 flying, said Gen. Arthur Lichte, commander of Air Mobility Command.
"We hope that we'll get the first aircraft into the test program beginning in 2010. And we're hoping that the first capability operationally will be about 2013," he said.
The contract to replace the aging fleet of air refueling tankers was mired in corruption and political wrangling for years.
In 2004, Congress, led by Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, banned the Air Force from working out a lease and purchase deal with Boeing after a federal investigation uncovered improprieties at the highest levels of the Air Force procurement process.
Critics also complained that Boeing was awarded the contract without competition and that the deal was a bailout for the 767 program, which was facing slumping sales.
Congress forced the Air Force to start a new contract bidding plan that allowed Airbus to compete for the contract.
Pentagon officials said the losing company could protest and ask the Government Accountability Office to investigate the decision, which would delay the program again.
Although the deal announced Friday is one of the largest U.S. military contracts in history, it falls short of the Army's recent $200 billion Future Combat System program and the Pentagon's future F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, expected to be over $200 billion.
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yeah, fuck an american company and build a plant in a no union state.
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snipped-for-privacy@some.domain wrote:

...for LOTS more bux and the loss of all those jobs to AMERICANS...thank Algore and his green-heads...jobs=industryAAAD...
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Maybe instead of handing out "rebate checks" to a bunch of people so that they can buy a bunch of Chinese crap at Walmart we should spend the tax dollars for new equipment (like the tankers) and give the contracts to American Companies who actually hire US Citizens and pay a decent wage. Wait ........we can't do that, it makes too much sense.
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stop that, you're acting intelligent and the dumb downers will kill you.
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on 2/29/2008 8:21 PM snipped-for-privacy@some.domain said the following:

Hey! I need that rebate check to help replace the $1800 I've already paid for 4 months of fuel oil this winter.
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Bill
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Maybe we should think about what the air force pilots putting their life on the line need to supply them with fuel in the forward area during combat and not what a union building an inferior plane can gain from this. This is about national survival and not a jobs program. Boeing started a track based on their aircraft that sent Boeing and air force personnnel to jail for trying to bilk the taxpayer. The bottom line is to support our war fighters in the next century - not to provode Boeing with another lucrative contract.
Val Kraut

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...and so shipping the jobs and logistical supply lines over seas, to a country which may or may not be only a tentative ally at best, makes more sense? Where's the iron-clad agreement that they'll continue to supply aircraft, parts, and support to/for those pilots risking their lives on the front line while not allowing them to transit their airspace on the way to the front...whether they agree with them being there or not? All this does is put international politics into the mix of a vital supply requirement...and maybe that's also part of the reason for the decision - fence mending. That's the only reason I can see for it.
The decision makes zero strategic sense, no matter what's happened in the past...and if jobs had been retained in the US, and industry supported instead of slowly and methodically dismantled over here, maybe there would still be a second (or third) US company left to actually viably compete for the contract...
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Val Kraut wrote:
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Do you realize the Boeing fuselage is "Made in Japan" -- Bottom line is the AF considered the KC-10 much supperior to the KC-135 because of fuel capacity - the Boeing offer actually couldn't do everyting tthe 135 could. Its nice to support the American worker - but again this isn't about a jobs program - its about supporting our troops putting their lives on the line out there in the field of combat. Boeing had a failing line and tried to keep it open at the taxpayers expense
Val Kraut
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It would be nice if that was the way it worked (i.e., quality trumps politics). The cynic in me says that had Boeing returned to the bidding process with the superior product/cost ratio, they would have still lost out. There was a political toll to be levied here. Yes, it's their fault for getting caught up in all the shenanigans, but I'm not so sure we want to be naive enough to believe that Northrop-Grumman plays it squeaky clean. Personally, I have no problem with the deal. Likewsie, I could care less if Boeing had won.
The reality is Congressman and Senators have a hand in stirring the pot (and skimming off it, R. Cunningham & J. Murtha) before they pour the molds - so you know it's FUBAR to some degree before the troops ever touch it. Half the stips on a mil contract have to do with jobs program considerations rather than product performance - minority subcontractors, etc. If it so happens the N-G tanker option is superior, it's an anomaly, not the shape of things to come.
I hear the Marine CDT is not so happy with the Marine Corps' new armor vests. Bet you bullets to beans someone on one of the Armed Services committees (whenever it was approved) has less than six degrees of separation from the plant/CEO that won the contract. Might have gone snow skiing with him, might have hit the Vegas strip clubs, or the pol got to place his kid in an exclusive school. Somewhere, somehow, somebody traded palm sweat, cash and a vote.
And it had precious little to do with putting the best hardware for the cost, on the battlefield.
In the end the boys are getting new tankers, so it's all good. I'm more worried about the F-15s falling out of the clouds. It's awful expensive growing F-15 pilots and lately they're dropping faster than Hillary's prospects for ordering new drapes for the Oval Office.
WmB
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WmB wrote:

I gotta agree with most of this...except I lament that there isn't another US company to have competed against Boeing for the win...I do care about that. I sense politics and "diplomacy" here.

I gotta agree with ALL of that...

I gotta agree with that, too...unfortunately.

Ditto. If they wanted hardware on the battlefield NOW, they'd have chosen something available NOW...

I'm more concerned about how quickly they'll be getting them, and the fact that one of the major suppliers is beholdin' to the gov of a nation that doesn't really see eye-to-eye with our current commitments. What if the people of that nation elect a new gov that disagrees with us even more because they disagree?..THEN what?
Yeah...I think it's time to retire the C-Eagles and give them more Es.
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Val Kraut wrote:

Timing is everything - and from what I understand, the Boeing jet was to have been produced in Wichita, and Japan certainly has a far better track record in not standing against us (since WWII) than the French gov has in the past couple decades...it's not really about "where", but more about "who" in the supply chain. I'd prefer the "who" be in the USA, and/or a nation which hasn't recently stood in opposition to our efforts. Or our troops.
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Airframe produced in Everett - Tanker conversion done in Wichita...
Jack G.

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I don't know the specifics of this deal, but US military use of foreign aviation equipment has up to now required a US-based production facility and spares sourcing to be set up. So this *will* mean American Jobs, just in Lockmart rather than Boeing.
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Alan Dicey wrote:

That's interesting - I wasn't aware Lockheed was involved at all...from a strictly logistical standpoint, then? I thought the consortium was Nor/Gru and EADS?
Granted, yes - Americans will get work...just not as much as they could.
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Rufus wrote:

mea culpa - I meant Northrop Grumman but wrote Lockmart.
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on 3/1/2008 5:15 PM Alan Dicey said the following:

What the f**k is Lockmart?
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Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
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The result of a merger between Lockheed and Martin Aerospace....
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on 3/1/2008 5:52 PM The Old Man said the following:

OK. Lockheed Martin I can understand. Is Lockmart an official nickname?
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Bill
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willshak wrote:

No, just a highly unofficial contraction (in the same vein, see also McBoeing, the current manufacturer of the F-15)
Mike
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