View Full Version : Northrop-Grumman may drop tanker bid

Johnny L.A.
12-02-2009, 08:12 PM
Link (http://blog.seattlepi.com/aerospace/archives/186826.asp).
Northrop Grumman officials sponsored a news conference (video) in October to complain that the draft request to replace the Air Force's Eisenhower-era KC-135 tankers favors rival Boeing's smaller 767-based tanker over the Northrop-EADS team's Airbus A330-based aircraft. That's because the request it would award the contract to the lowest-priced plane that meets a set of mandatory criteria, after adjusting for certain factors, rather than looking at the best balance of price and capabilities.


Some have argued that the government shouldn't buy a bigger, more expensive plane, better value or not, if it doesn't really need more size. In fact, a separate contract will replace the Air Force's larger KC-10 tankers.


U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash. -- who chairs the Senate's Appropriations Defense Subcommittee -- said in a statement that the "Airbus" was attempting to tilt the competition in its favor.

"This is a new competition, but the players are the same and Airbus is up to its same old tricks," she said. "When the last draft Request for Proposal was released, Airbus threatened to drop out unless the requirements were tilted in its favor and they are using the same tactics this time around. The end result was a bad deal for our warfighters, our taxpayers, and yet another delay in getting a new tanker into the hands of our military.
Personally, I hope Boeing gets the contract. I'm a Washingtonian now, and the state has already taken a hit because Boeing decided to move a second production line for the 787 to South Carolina. It will be better for Washington if the new tanker is built here -- and I know of at least one Doper who works at Boeing.

I also think that one should use the right tool for the mission. I don't drive my Jeep to Seattle. In fact, it hardly gets used anymore. The Toyota is more suited to my needs. Unless it's snowing or I need to tow something. Then the Jeep is the right tool for the mission. So why have the extra capacity of the Airbus when the mission doesn't call for it? And apparently there will be a separate contract for the KC-10. They can try for that one.

Boeing is an American company. Northrop-Grumman would partner with the French/German/Spanish consortium of EADS. Now, I'm not a nationalist. But with the economy the way it is, I'd rather not share profits with an offshore consortium. Let's keep the money here, at least for a while.

Boeing has a lot of experience building tankers. Northrop-Grumman and Airbus build fine aircraft. Some of my favourite aircraft are Grummans. Heck my first logged hours were in a Grumman. But I like Boeing's track record with tankers and transport aircraft.

So: A Boeing contract would keep jobs in Washington, where I now live. The profits would stay within an American company. Boeing has a good track record with the type.

What do you think about the tanker contract?

Captain Amazing
12-02-2009, 08:19 PM
I think that Boeing has the influence to do what they did the last time they didn't win the contract...exploit xenophobia and make a big enough deal about it until they find an irregularity and get the Air Force to throw out the bids and reopen the bidding.

If that doesn't work, they'll bribe DoD and Pentagon employees.