Boeing: More Time Or Else

Pentagon efforts to award that big ol' contract for a new Air Force refueling tanker keep getting buffeted by events.

Now Boeing says it may bail out of the tanker re-competition -- which had appeared to be a great coup for the aircraft maker, which lost the earlier $40 billion deal, which was overturned by the GAO as a bungled procurement -- if it can't have more time to develop a new proposal.

Government Inc. is catching its breath. This may all seem like a farce. But it matters.

Anyway, our colleague Dana Hedgpeth wrote this story Friday, spelling out the latest trouble.

"Boeing spokesman Dan Beck said the company needs six months to put together a new bid because it thinks the Air Force has changed the requirements and is now asking for a plane that can carry more fuel. Beck said the four additional months are needed to do further price analysis and engineering work to propose a different plane.

"If the Pentagon doesn't grant more time, Beck said 'one of the options we would seriously consider is that we would possibly' not bid at all."

By Robert O'Harrow |  August 23, 2008; 7:00 AM ET
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In looking 20, 30, years down the road is this the best use of our resources, which despite Pentagon view are indeed finite. As we move to differnt technologies are we going to be using tankers going forward as much as we currently do? this whole approach by the USAF seems to lack long range strategy. The entire procurement process utilized by the Pentagon is flawed and fatally so.

Posted by: steve | August 23, 2008 8:19 AM

Boeing tried to milk the government with an outdated plane and they don't care if pilots are flying 1950s rust buckets. It's about time that they give up and let the Air Force build a modern plane.

Posted by: pilot | August 23, 2008 8:19 AM

Fine. Take your ball and go home. Boeing has sucked at the Government (taxpayer) teat for so long they think it's a right. They tried to highball the price and got underbid. now they want to change the bid after they know what the competition was offering. The Pentagon should use the original bids and that is all.

Posted by: Dale | August 23, 2008 8:26 AM

Boeing comes across as a spoiled brat who didn't get their way and now says that it doesn't want to play any longer unless the rules are changed the way I want them.

Posted by: ernie K | August 23, 2008 8:27 AM

An American company should get this contract, period. We should never have a foreign country build anything as important to us as military aircraft. They know everything about the aircraft and hold all the cards should we ever have to go to war with them. Besides we need the jobs at Boeing and every other company who supports them with material and parts. Bring all manuf. jobs back to America even if it costs morel

Posted by: Joe | August 23, 2008 8:29 AM


The AF uses tankers for refueling every one of their aircraft during ferrying and/or combat situations. They can even refuel tankers with other tankers. Your question as to their long term need strikes me as ridiculous and shows how uninformed you are.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 23, 2008 8:31 AM

Why would we ever want to send great jobs overseas? We ( U.S. ) have had it too good for too long that we are willing to outsource everything and anything. Look at India and China now, who manufacture so many of our goods. They are thriving and we are dying on the vine. The greatest country in the world, greatest manufacturing and innovation willing to sell out for cheaper goods and services.

Posted by: Bubba | August 23, 2008 8:40 AM

Nearly every public comment from Boeing is designed to mislead the viewer/reader. How can we reward such deception with further consideration? They had their chance, blew it and are now lying about what happened to protect the high level jobs. Boeing's competion offered a better product at a lower cost. More jobs in the USA than the Boeing offer while the airframe will better serve the warfighter. What is the real issue? Come on, think about it - Boeing has a track record of deceptive and illegal business practices.

Posted by: ozarkretiree | August 23, 2008 8:46 AM

steve, as far as "long term" goes, i imagine we will be using tankers for a very long time. "alternative energy" is a *long* ways off for military application. we can't even get it to work properly in consumer cars. barring some serious breakthroughs, our airforce will need tankers for the next 30 years at least.

Posted by: Tyler | August 23, 2008 8:50 AM

I disagree with the suggestion that we should use an American company just to create jobs here. If you live in America, and you can't find a decent job, do something about it. That's the whole reason that people describe this country as great -- you actually have control over your own destiny. Why should my tax dollars be given to you instead of a cheaper person of equal competence in another country?

Posted by: EfficiencyFirst | August 23, 2008 8:52 AM

This evaluation process confounds me. Why are they just looking at the sticker price of this project? We should evaluate the entire package, which should include

a) which solution makes this country more secure
- having production base of vital military resource HERE, in the USA, or overseas? BTW, in a time of war, how will we defend our production facilities if they are in Europe? How will we respond if EADS disagrees politically with our actions and decides to withhold parts and supplies?

b) Financials: don't look at initial purchase price- how ridiculous is that? What will the total cost of this program be over 10 or 15 years? What is the multiplier effect of all this money going back into the US economy, and not just part of it for assembly plant at Northrop? IS anyone seriously considering that? Shoot, if you buy a freaking copy machine, you look at the cost of ownership for 5 years, not just the sticker price. What is the TCO for either program?

I don't see how anyone can decide to send this program overseas- we cannot outsource our defense program.
IF Boeing has been naughty in the past, then hold them on a tighter leash. Don't "punish" Boeing (and by extension, the rest of the USA) by sending this vital contract overseas.

Posted by: Randy Norian | August 23, 2008 8:59 AM

"Why should my tax dollars be given to you instead of a cheaper person of equal competence in another country?"
Are you for real? Take American's tax dollars and instead of investing in America send them overseas so those countries prosper and we lose more and more good jobs?
"If you live in America, and you can't find a decent job, do something about it. That's the whole reason that people describe this country as great -- you actually have control over your own destiny."
The more we send manufacturing overseas the fewer and fewer 'decent jobs' there are here. You don't have control over your own destiny when the good paying jobs are in India or China. And, our government should never send 'our' tax dollars overseas. Maybe you have a good job now, but look a little in the future. Look in the past at Ohio and other rust belt cities.

Posted by: Bubba | August 23, 2008 9:00 AM

I have a solution that is fair for everyone. Cancell the entire order, along with half the new fighters we will be paying for. Then Europe, Japan, Korea, etc can buy their fighters and tankers from whoever they want and start paying the bill for their own protection.

Posted by: protecturown | August 23, 2008 9:01 AM

I am a business man and Boeig stockholder. I recently purchased more stock. I say to Boeing, "get out now". It is obvious what the Air Force wants. Let them do business with EADS with a single source contract.

Posted by: Robert | August 23, 2008 9:05 AM

Joe wrote "An American company should get this contract, period. We should never have a foreign country build anything as important to us as military aircraft....." But it's ok that our new Presidential helicopters are foreign made as are most of our US Coast Guard's; or that our US Marines Harrier jets, which saves many Marine lives, are of foreign origin as are US Navy's Skyhawks, etc. C'mon Joe .......

Posted by: Wud | August 23, 2008 9:16 AM

If Boeing hadn't tried to cheat the taxpayers back in 2002/2003 the Air Force would already have a tanker. Boeing might have it's Headquarters in Chicago, but it sure doesn't act like America is in it's best interest. Boeing is completely using the political system to try and force the Air Force to take a tanker they don't want. Boeing needs to worry about getting their commercial 787 Dreamliner delivered on time instead of using their bought and paid for congressmen.

Posted by: John | August 23, 2008 9:17 AM

If we are going to require our military items to be built by American companies, that is perfectly reasonable, but it should be an announced part of the bidding process. Otherwise, if we allow foreign companies to bid without them having any hope of winning the bid, the bidding is farcical.

In fact, Boeing has been behaving as if they believed the bidding process was a farce and they would get the contract regardless of bids. Perhaps this was true in the past. Clearly, for this contract, the military had different ideas. By behaving this way, Boeing comes off as a spoiled child who isn't being given his usual ration of goodies and doesn't see the contract as a privilege earned but rather a right denied.

Posted by: Robert S. | August 23, 2008 9:23 AM

"But it's ok that our new Presidential helicopters are foreign made as are most of our US Coast Guard's; or that our US Marines Harrier jets, which saves many Marine lives, are of foreign origin as are US Navy's Skyhawks, etc."

No, it isn't OK. That's my point.
It has to stop somewhere and this is as good as any time to start. I'm not saying Boeing is a model citizen or company, but they are American and that's a great beginning. Perhaps we should tell them that if they win the bid all parts and manuf. get done in the U.S. Why not, it's 'our' money. i.e. our tax dollars.

Posted by: Joe | August 23, 2008 9:24 AM

Dale: You're conveniently ignoring the fact that Northrop used the exact same tactic during the intitial competition. In fact, Northrop did not have a plane that met the Air Force's requirements, so rather than lose a bidder the Air Force changed the requirements. Why is it wrong for Boeing to use exactly the same tactics Northrop used?

Posted by: Dale | August 23, 2008 8:26 AM:

"Fine. Take your ball and go home. Boeing has sucked at the Government (taxpayer) teat for so long they think it's a right. They tried to highball the price and got underbid. now they want to change the bid after they know what the competition was offering. The Pentagon should use the original bids and that is all."

Posted by: Not that other Joe | August 23, 2008 9:26 AM

Dropping out of a two way competition is a standard RFP tactic and high stakes procurement poker. No big issue.

Procurement was flawed? Does that mean that it wasnt perfect? Well I have never seen one that was, even for much smaller contracts.

To the people who said let foreign competitors drive down the price. Folks, using that logic the Chinese or the Russians could win. For crucial weapons systems, keep Americans employed so that we dont loose that capability in our own industrial base.

Posted by: Chas | August 23, 2008 9:42 AM

wud seems misinformed about US military aircraft. The new Presidential helicopters are based on a foreign design and are partly constructed overseas, but several major components (such as engines and electronics) are made here and the whole thing assembled here. The original Harrier jet was designed in Britain, but the new Harrier was designed in the US and both models flown by the Marines were built in the US. As for the Navy's Skyhawks, the only such aircraft I'm aware of by that designation was built in the US in the 60's and 70's and retired like 25 years ago. Something new I haven't heard of?

Posted by: Mike | August 23, 2008 9:53 AM

Boeing, enough huffing and puffing! Put up a competitive proposal or shut up.

If you can't compete, then don't.

Posted by: uber30something | August 23, 2008 9:53 AM

>The new Presidential helicopters are based on a foreign design and are partly constructed overseas, but several major components (such as engines and electronics) are made here and the whole thing assembled here.

So is the Airbus tanker.

Posted by: Read and understand | August 23, 2008 10:00 AM

Not that other Joe: the difference is that when the requirements were changed for Northrop, that was before the competition even started. What is happening now is not a brand new competition; all the new RFP is doing is clearing up the 8 points that the GAO found fault with in their investigation. What Boeing wants to do is start over from scratch, but the AF disagrees with having to wait. If it took Boeing this long to "get" what the AF has been asking for all along, and wants to start over with a new proposal, that is their right, but the AF doesn't have to give them extra time to do so. That would be totally unfair to Northrop. Remember, at the core of this are two businesses trying to win a contract for their company. Whey should Northrop have to wait around and give Boeing yet another chance to win? How is that fair to Northrop?

Posted by: Cap | August 23, 2008 10:00 AM

Do your homework people. Northrup Grumman has indicated they will create jobs right here in my home state, if they get the bid. Why do we never see THAT mentioned in the national press??? What journalists are on the Boeing payroll. Boeing, get over it.

Posted by: mountaineer | August 23, 2008 10:02 AM

Charleston Daily Mail 8/21/08

"Hundreds of new jobs would be created in West Virginia if Northrop Grumman, based in Los Angeles, and the European Aeronautic Defense & Space Co., based in Toulouse, France, win the contract.

Last October, Gov. Joe Manchin and Ralph Crosby Jr., chairman and chief executive officer of EADS North America, announced that if the Northrop EADS team won the contract, in-flight refueling systems would be built in Bridgeport, creating at least 100 high-paying jobs.

Crosby said those 100 jobs could lead to about 300 spin-off jobs in the state.

Boeing has not said how many jobs, if any, it might create in West Virginia if it were awarded the contract."

Posted by: mountaineer | August 23, 2008 10:06 AM

I think Steve has an interesting point - are planes going to use petroleum in 40 years? I hope not, for our sake!

Posted by: Karl | August 23, 2008 10:07 AM

So ask yourselves, by omitting this tiny detail, and making it sound like we are exporting the whole job oversea, is The Press jerking your chains just a tad? Last time I checked, in 230 years we have sent more of our citizens to defend this country than the rest of you. I think that makes us American enough to build these things!

Posted by: mountaineer | August 23, 2008 10:12 AM

Does the prior commentator really beleive that fighters & bombers (thats what the tankers are for, remember?) are going to run on anything but liquid fuels anytime in the next decade or two? The negative connotations about Pentagon spending expose the real issue for that commentator: he/she believes we spend too much on the military. Easy to say when facing Americas enemies is not your job. Perhaps the men and women in Afganistan, Iraq, South Korea and around the world would disagree.

Posted by: Realist | August 23, 2008 10:16 AM

Can you imagine the French approving a US company to build their army tanks? Not going to happen. They are simply relying on America's gleeful 'sellout' or everything that isn't welded to the ground.

Posted by: LeepingLizards | August 23, 2008 10:18 AM

This act by the once mighty Boeing is indicative of America the Fearful.

Fear of outsourcing goes to the core of American insecurity and no company promotes fear better than Boeing.

They are pathetic and should lose if only because they have behaved in an "UnAmerican" manner throughout since the appeal.

Posted by: mewcomm | August 23, 2008 10:20 AM

Mountaineer; unless there are some signifigant breakthroughs in the near future, our military will continue to be petrolium fueled for a long time. I would be suprised if we have consumer cars off petrolium in the next ten years. at the moment we bairly have any no-petro consumer vehicles, if we are just now getting a honda civic that only uses gas *part* of the time, its going to be a *long* time before a high performance military fighter jet runs on batteries.

Posted by: Henry | August 23, 2008 10:21 AM

If we rid ourselves of most unions in the U.S we would be able to kick backside again. One Boeing union is on strike now over, what? More, more, more. Thats one big problem.

Posted by: Troy | August 23, 2008 10:22 AM

Half of Boeing's parts are made over seas. An "American tanker" isn't going to happen. They even put foreign parts on the current tankers. I feel that you good Ol' USA can't produce anything completely by themselfs anymore. It's the down fall of our society.

Posted by: Jacob | August 23, 2008 10:24 AM

"Half of Boeing's parts are made over seas. An "American tanker" isn't going to happen. They even put foreign parts on the current tankers. I feel that you good Ol' USA can't produce anything completely by themselfs anymore. It's the down fall of our society."

is it the downfall? or is it simply that the US (like all developed countries eventualy do.) has simply moved to a service based economy, instead of the goods based economy that you would find in a developing industrial country. As a society becomes more and more advanced, they rely more on services and less on goods. we rely on others to make the goods that we used to make, so that we can concentrate on providing services.

its not a downfall, its progress.

Posted by: Arawn | August 23, 2008 10:29 AM

Enough about the deceptive business practices, Boeing came clean and paid a $600 million fine. EADS is the global champ when it comes to deceptive business practices. Several executives are under investigation in France for insider trading. Canada is still investigating EADS Airbus unit for bribing government officials nearly a decade ago (EADS still refuses to come clean here). In addition EADS is or has been under investigation in nearly every market it competes in submarines in India, helicopters in Singapore and the list goes on. In addition, EADS is currently party of a dispute at the WTO for receiving what the US Gov. terms illegal subsidies to build the A330 in the first place. If anyone should be barred it is EADS, after all how does the administration justify saying well we feel the A330 was built using illegal subsidies but we'll overlook the lawbreaking to make John McCain and Alabama happy. The very participation of the A330 in this bids makes a mockery of US law, trade policy, and defense policy.

Posted by: John | August 23, 2008 10:34 AM

Europeans for years bought American arms and war planes, for they trusted the Americans. But today Americans have become so arrogant that they cant trust their brethren across the atlantic to buy their planes.

Is it because the Americans want to continue acting arrogant and not listen to their friends across the atlantic on important foreign policy decisions? Do Americans feel they have the sole right in making decisions relating to wars?

Is it that Americans want to preserve their self serving right to declare war as and when they want on other countries?

Bush, you dumb f..k you have made America paranoid.

Posted by: JSmith | August 23, 2008 10:35 AM

keep the old rust buckets... and don't replace them.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 23, 2008 10:37 AM

Boeing headquarters moved to Chicago and lost their soul. Instead of technical excellence, we get whining and threats; it reminds me of a spoiled child's temper tantrum. Please name the last aviation project Boeing started, either military or civilian, (not inherited when buying out another company), that came in on time and anywhere near budget. Has that happened since Boeing "leadership" moved to Chicago? Ask Italy and Japan how long they have waited for their aerial tankers; is there any reason to believe the USAF would get actual operational airplanes any faster? Boeing leadership needs to get a grip and quit sending elected officials out to try and browbeat the Pentagon into buying an airplane that is obsolescent even before the first one rolls off the production line. Revisit the areas that GAO criticized and get on with it.

Posted by: Gerald White | August 23, 2008 10:38 AM

For all whiners who wants any contract to be done by an american company.

1 Is it just for sake of keeping the understanding of how the technlogy works within the country, then the requirement would be that NONE of any parts of that airplane or support equipment can be made by a foreign company OR by a plant owned by the american company but on FOREIGN SOIL.

2 If it is for the sake of american jobs? Then again the same argument with the FOREIGN SOIL.

3. Is it the sake of keeping american investment within the country, then you can't reward any contract to any publicly traded corporation.

Solution to keep the high ideals of making sure ONLY american jobs, only American Company receives the funds, and NO foreign subcontracter gets a penny (Got your seatbelt on?) Nationalize the defence industry. Or, let the government create a new arms/aero company who may only deal with the US government as a client, may only hire Americans (no greencarders (like myself) or visa imported people). Most of you are now probably thinking I'm crazy, but maybe the high requirements for ALL AMERICAN MADE is maybe crazy too.

Posted by: Michael | August 23, 2008 10:42 AM

Most of the comments in this forum seem to focus on the jobs lost or created which I don't take lightly and so the argument does have some merit. However, the comments regarding the perspective from the users (military) point of view are lacking here. I have a feeling that most of the talents and advisors in this procurement have the knowledge on the use of tankers as refueling and as a transport equipment and look at the two airplane selections as such. The question of whether a need for greater fuel offload than what the smaller of the two airplanes can offload at this point is almost comical. Im quite certain that if you ask any person who ever flew tankers,receiver, or mission planners if they ever flew an airplane in a mission which required full capacity offload, I could almost guess less than 2% will say yes. With that in mind, the current tankers -135 are really small so there may be more times when they were needed to be at their maximum capacity for a mission such as fighter drag or ferrying. The proposed airplanes, 767 and 330 have at least three times the capacity of 135s. Based on past, current, and future use of the tankers, SIZE is really not an strategic nor tactical advantage and should not be used as the biggest factor in the selection. Bottom line, I have a feeling that the newer-designed airplane was selected for that reason alone and none of the hoopla(size matters) being published on comments and reports throughout the media. Yes, I had 29 years around the tanker/transport community in the military and still have open perspective on things. I do not have a bias on either airplane but it does worry me that the procurement is politically driven instead of buying the best product for the tax bucks. Misguided reports on biased opinions only cloud the positions that people who are interested in the subject take. If anyone has anything to say, it should be the users of the old airplanes. as an example of why, immagine riding a car without air conditioning driving through the mojave desert with the windows closed and just the recirc fan blowing hot air in your face. Now wear a flight suit while you're driving. If you ever see one of the 135s taxiing with their windows open, now you know why.

Posted by: Nikoli | August 23, 2008 10:42 AM

What are you people nattering on about? All I am saying is we are promised to build a component of this thing if Northrup gets the job. By the way, we also build engines here for Toyota for all of you who boycott Japanese cars. Go check the stats, we are a leading producer of "fossil" fuels and drilling rigs are popping out like freckles around here. All I am saying is there are a heck of a lot of uninformed people getting everyone to take sides - as if this were a black and white issue with only one right answer.

Posted by: mountaineer | August 23, 2008 10:45 AM

Nikoli, I defer to your experience. For the purposes of the debate, which we WV's have patiently watched for what seems like forever, we are assuming that the military knew what was needed, made that information available, and Northrup Grumman was able to submit a bid which matched the technical specifications. I cannot comment on whether those specs were flawed and defer to you on that. BUT we are tired of the Press making this issue out to be a tabloid fight between the "American" Boeing and those "Other" "Foreigners". Defending our country and providing support services is taken Very seriously in WV and we would do our best to make the highest quality component possible.

Posted by: mountaineer | August 23, 2008 11:00 AM

Boeing is having to bid against a company that has state paid health insurance. Furthermore the EU paid for R&D to Airbus. Check the anti-trust lawsuits already on the books.

The AF Procurement ended up asking for a different air plane then they initially asked for. Never mind the fact that we should be buying from an American Company.

Posted by: vspencer | August 23, 2008 11:03 AM

Terminate the project and everyone (fire, retire, remove) in the Air Force procurement chain associated with this fiasco. Move the contracting office to a different organization. Rewrite the requirement and start over. Who cares how long it takes. The taxpayers and the users of the tanker should get the best bang for the buck. Unfortunately, money talks and no one can be trusted to make honest decisions anymore. Nothing has changed in the Air Force procurement process since I was on a source selection over 20 years ago where the decision had been made prior to the source selection and the source selection was allowed to go forward just to give the illusion of a fair process.

Posted by: simul8r | August 23, 2008 11:04 AM

Looks like Boeing is about to go "boing!" on this deal.


Posted by: Jito | August 23, 2008 11:07 AM

Wow...there seems to be so much misinformation here....I don't see a thing wrong with Boeing pointing out (along with the GAO) that there was something very wrong with the initial Northrup/Airbus proposal evaluation....GAO said "mistakes were made"...well people, in this sort of thing...those "Mistakes" were intentional on the government's the advantage of Northrup....normally there would be indictments, hearings, and jail time....but not this time...they were just mistakes...this whole process was wrong and slanted away from Boeing....on purpose...

now that the gov has changed the type of plane..this time in the Request for Proposal, it is sounding like they want to larger plane and does not care about the price of enlarging the hangers needed for repair of such larger planes...that part doesn't play into the cost...well it didn't with the Northrup/Airbus win...we will see if it does this time around....there are also costs associated with the larger plane being based in the war areas that we go to...I didn't see those costs either....

Anyway....if the larger plane is what they want..then Boeing should be given the amount of time that Northrup/Airbus was given...but even in that case...the Airbus plane has had so much more time on the drawing board than the 'New' Boeing even if Boeing does submit a new "larger" plane, it will not be as mature...

The govenment has lead Boeing on a path of needing a plane the size of a 767....for years now....there is something very wrong with this process and I would start with McCain and his advisors that quit shortly after the award a couple of months ago....

I have seen these proposals set up multiple times and it seems that there are a few people in congress that should be checked out also for breaking procurement laws..and most of those are from the south.....

How come no one ever questions Lockheed on winning all the fighter contracts for the next 20-30 years....??? it really the fact that Boeing/McDonall Douglas (spelling)/Rockwell can't put together a fighter proposal???....I find that hard to believe....

I don't see this tanker deal a build it by Boeing crybaby thing...I see it as Boeing should and deserve a fair playing field....and currently, it still is not a level field...

yu'al gotta really read the RFQ's...and then read the GAO full many of you people have????...I would bet 0....

McCain has been after dumping Boeing ever since Boeing made an offer to the head gov procurement woman...Darlen Drunyun (spelling) (or whatever her position was)....well, Boeing should have known better...and one went to jail and the CEO at the time had to step down...and then McCain came up with this concocted RFP...and bragged that he saved the American taxpayer 6 Billion $$$....well...if anyone really knows how all this stuff works...he didn't save us a nickel...he cost us another 20 Billion $$$...and delayed the program by, there is what yu'al should be checking into and know...

It amazes me that there are so many STUPID people in the American public...and they get swayed by misinformation so easily...and they are so lazy and stupid that they not to go out on their own and investigate the facts...they listen to a bunch of bloggers and news services that really don't report the whole story...

I guess we really have a piss poor education system here....and that is where the government wants us....stupid...

I, for one, will be going for a level playing field in this tanker proposal...and an investigation and indictments of those that made the "Mistakes"...people should pay for this,,,just like before....Boeing officials paid too for their mistakes...of course anyone could say not enough...that may be true...but then again the government didn't really go after anyone get to the bottom of the scandal...

Thats it..all I gotta say...

Posted by: Bob | August 23, 2008 11:08 AM

" Boeing is having to bid against a company that has state paid health insurance. Furthermore the EU paid for R&D to Airbus. Check the anti-trust lawsuits already on the books. "

Goes on to show that the days of extreme capitalism are going to come to an end. First Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac had to protected by the government. Next people will realize key environmental and energy related issues cannot be solved by private investment and reaction of free markets alone. Next people will realize government supported sports programmes will make a country win more gold medals at olympics. Next people will realize unless government supports our defense industry they cannot match foriegn competetion.

Evolution will continue.... survival of the fittest societies will continue. Republicans will vanish from the face of the earth like the dinosaurs.

Posted by: JSmith | August 23, 2008 11:14 AM

The Jobs are not going to a foreign country, unless you consider Alabama one.To state it in simple terms, Boeing and their bought and paid for northern politicians are pissed because all of those jobs are going to the South.

Posted by: George | August 23, 2008 11:15 AM

Europeans buy Airbus even when it is garbage just because it is European. Likewise they purchase European cars because they are European. We are American, however, so we make an effort not to buy American. Talk about digging your own grave. It's unbelievable.

Posted by: Ben | August 23, 2008 11:24 AM

We don't hear much today about how the purported decline in US manufacturing is offset by a shift to a service based economy. Perhaps that stems from so many "services" going overseas themselves - call centers, even Wall Street functions and certain legal services. Heck, that "would you like fries with that" voice at the drive-through can be hundreds of miles or even an continent away now.

Air transport pretty much requires liquid fuels that if aren't petroleum are _very_ close to it. The energy densities don't support much else as their fuel.

I'm not sure that being a leading extractor of fossil fuels and raising drilling rigs with freckles abandon is a good source of state pride.

Presumably the "Made in the USA" arguments, after all the jingoistic flag-waving dies down, is a question of risk assessment - what is the risk that in a major conflict the US military will not be able to resupply losses in a timely manner. Is the supplier of that product/component going to be able, and _willing_ to supply in time of crisis? What happens when/if those suppliers disagree with the way in which their products are used? An extreme case perhaps, but what good were/are all those F-14's to Iran after 1979? Suppose the US military were equally dependent in 2003 on spare tanker parts from, oh France, who's "support" of President Shrub's decision to invade Iraq gave us "Freedom Fries?" (OK, there are a non-trivial number of folks, perhaps even myself included who think that might have been a good thing..)

For the US military to chose weapons/systems with components made overseas, or for Congress to thrust such systems upon them, is at least an implicit decision to give those suppliers some say in how the US uses its military. It is, in essence, integrating the US military with those overseas sources.

Every purchasing decision we make is like that, if even in an infinitely small way. Every trip down the aisle at WallMart or NeimanMarcus we are each making a decision about the future shape of our country and economy, and that of the world around us.

Posted by: rick jones | August 23, 2008 11:26 AM

"Europeans buy Airbus even when it is garbage just because it is European. Likewise they purchase European cars because they are European. "

Patently false, despite the fact that today euro is around 1.5 dollars, people are buying the more expensive Airbus over Boeing. And thats not just the europeans, but the chinese, arabs, south americans etc. Boeing is going the way of GM, Ford, Chrysler. The days of glory of American manufacturing are long gone.

Leave the markets on their own, they die. Years of Repblican lack of apathy of any government support has killed our industry. Death to republicans.

Posted by: JSmith | August 23, 2008 11:29 AM

This is just another step in the USAF SNAFU. NG/Airbus basically said, "Change the RFP or we won't bid." The AF changed the specs then decided that they wanted the larger plane than they originally thought they wanted.

They played some very improper games to give the bid to NG/Airbus and the GAO came back with a stunning and humiliating rebuke when they supported Boeing's protest - which, by the way, was the first protest by Boeing in 30 years.

Now that the AF has made it clear in the revisions of their RFP that they want a larger plane than they originally told Boeing (and Congress) Boeing is rightfully saying that they need time to put together a responsible bid. That includes engineering studies and some very heavy costing tasks.

If the USAF is more concerned about giving NG/Airbus the contract than getting competitive bids on similar planes then Boeing should walk. Airbus lobbyists were in McCain's inner circle, adding more concern about the games the USAF are playing.

Best option? Wait until after the elections. If Obama wins there is a chance that this mess might be cleared up and an honest competition run to pick the right plane. If McCain wins then Boeing knows that there is no need to work on a bid as McCain's friends/lobbyists will take care of Airbus.

Posted by: Ken | August 23, 2008 11:30 AM

The US Air Force needs a tanker now. It is as simple as that. NGC should not be punished because it went above and beyond in delivering a better aircraft. Now Boeing wants six months to pull a plane out of their behind that is not off the shelf. Can you say cost overuns. Having been in the military I can tell you nothing we have in our inventory is without foriegn parts. Ford, GM, Crysler as a company has more foriegn made parts then a Honda Accord. NGC is an American company that has a partnership with EADS. The F35 will have parts made from 35 countries. It carries the name of a British fighter. Were are the complaints in that. Get over it. USAF needs a tanker let NGC deliver. Screw Boeing. Look at the state of the the F-15 since Boeing took it over from MD. The thing is unsupportable. It's falling out of the sky. Do we really want to trust them again? Look at the flyoff for the JSF, Boeing delivered a poor model and lost. The Super hornet was another boondoogle the sold DOD on. They could have built a low cost stealth fighter for what they charged for the super hornet. Take NGC the F20 tiger shark performed so well against the latest US figters the classified the flyoff and banned the sale of the aircraft. They provided a better aircraft in the YF-23 but the air force wanted it to do better in a dog fight, (really they didn't think it looked like a fighter). Who needs a Stealth aircraft in a dog fight? It's time for NGC to get back in the game.

Posted by: Don | August 23, 2008 11:31 AM

The Boeing proposal is not a forward-looking solution. They want to keep the line open on a product that will soon be replaced in the commercial market because it is old technology. How do you serve or fail to serve a customer for 50 years and have to actually wait for an RFP to come out to know what they want and need as a replacement? Doesn't Boeing notice that their current product is not serving the American citizen's interest? Didn't they know the current tanker was past its prime twenty years ago. NG/EADS may not be the solution but what is the justification for cutting Boeing slack for losing a customer after 50 years? Boeing's advantage in producing and delivering a tanker meeting the customer's specifications should be unapproachable. Sadly, it's not.

Posted by: Douglas | August 23, 2008 11:40 AM

Bob: You complain about misinformation; pal, you are the KING of misinformation. I'm not sure there was one thing in your lengthy missive that had any truth to it! Please don't mistake your opinions for being facts. "this whole process was wrong and slanted away from Boeing....on purpose..." Really? the WHOLE process? I find it difficult to believe the it was ALL wrong, and the AF never wanted Boeing, don't you? "now that the gov has changed the type of plane" They didn't change it! Boeing just thought they knew better than the AF and submitted the smaller plane. Northrop submitted what they asked for. "if the larger plane is what they want..then Boeing should be given the amount of time that Northrup/Airbus was given" They already had the same amount of time. Boeing just wants more time that they don't deserve to try to mimic what Northrop has already porposed. "Boeing should and deserve a fair playing field". They do, it is their arrogance that has them in the position they are in now. "few people in congress that should be checked out also for breaking procurement laws..and most of those are from the south....." Either name names and give proof; otherwise, that is pretty weak. If you want to name congressmen for bad behavior, go check Dicks, Thiarts and the rest of Boeing's bought and paid for congress cronies' websites and see how much money Boeing hase pumped into their re-election campaigns.

Posted by: Cap | August 23, 2008 11:47 AM

Boeing is hugely corrupt. I hope they walk away and Northrop gets the contract. Let some of those jobs go to alabama instead of seattle. The idea that Boeing can push the government around is offending.

Posted by: Snarky | August 23, 2008 11:50 AM

The little I've followed the story, it appears that the Boeing 767 derrivative met the Air Force requirements, but the airframe from Airbus, which is sized more like the Boeing 777 got the nod. It sounds like the Air Force sought RFP's for a Honda Civic sized plane, and EADS responded with a Toyota Camry. I wonder if this was an "inside job"?

Posted by: Evan Rosenberg | August 23, 2008 11:56 AM

Its apparent the NG/EADS IFR (In Flight Refueling) platform is superior in Fuel loading, Fuel off loading, Range, Loiter, Passengers, Pallets, Stretchers (Cas/Vac) or a mix of any of these.

Whilst Italy still awaits its Boeing 767 tankers, now running three years late & Japan's Boeing 767 are not performing to the tanker spec & are rendered almost usless, its hardly suprising the USAF prefers NG/EADS as a supplier.

The last five international tanker proceurement contracts have seen the 767 up against the A330 all five have been awarded to the A330

So do we want the USAF rejecting their preffered choice & forced to accept an antique tanker, if my son was up front, no.

Boeing, continues throwing its toys out of the pram on this issue, this smacks more of protectionisem than a genuine technology prowess contest.

Posted by: Wilber Wrong | August 23, 2008 11:56 AM

Hey Ken - you're full of crap. There was no spec change by the Air Force. Do some research before you go mouthing off.

Posted by: Andy | August 23, 2008 11:59 AM

Boeing is the most ethical company you will ever see in operation on the world stage. EADS is now under investigation for all of the bribes they use to get contracts oversees, which is the norm for those contries. Just look at how Saudi Arabia had the British cancel thier investigation into the Royal family a couple of years ago. By all means lets give McCain and his EADS top advisors send another $35B to support the french and germans. They have been so usefull to us lately.

Posted by: Pat | August 23, 2008 12:00 PM

It is about time to Wake up... Boeing is no longer trustworthy competitor... They want the rules to be made for them.. Should they have a proposal, it would take them years to implement an aircraft .. It would, as is typical , have huge over-runs.. and in the end the product would be out of date by the time it was delivered.. . Boeing wants to deliver on old technologies. Boeing does not have a product anywhere near the Northrop Grumman tanker.. KC45, that is ready TODAY ! It is already in use in with several NATO countries and it is a proven superior product to anything else on the market.

For those that say " it needs to be an American Product " ( I would rather it was. ) I am surprised I have not head your cries of patriotism , and outrage at foreign purchases in the case of so many other military products, The most scandalous to me being the New Presidential Helicopter. Contract awarded to August Westland ( British ) for the VH-71 AV , for an unbelievable sum., Quote "The program was originally estimated to cost $6.1 billion. The program initially planned to procure 23 VH-71 operational aircraft and three test aircraft at an expected per unit cost of approximately $82 million per aircraft (initial increments) and approximately $110 million per aircraft in the final configuration." Yes you read right BILLIONS for 23 machines.. and three test aircraft. And we have now learned that the cost overruns of this program will reach in excess of 11 BILLION $...

You want more examples : The US ARMY and Homelade defense have recently ordered over 350 EC 135 Eurocopters, for secondary utility mission needs. By the way just so we can muddy the water a little ... It was renamed and is now called the UH-72 Lakota. it is the Americanized version.

The US Army As ordered over 60 aircraft form CASA/EADS 295,
( for the new " JCA Program " Joint Cargo Aircraft , two armed services plan to buy a total of 145 aircraft, with the Army acquiring 75 planes and the Air Force buying 70, at an estimated cost of 3 Billion Dollars ...By the way renamed the CJ27

The Coast Guard have for more then 25 years used Dassault and Eurocopter products.

The Iraq and Afghan conflicts logistics is being taken care of in large part by Antonov Transports ( Ukrainian manufacturer)- The C5's and C17 can brew starbucks and fly on their on home, but cannot take the intensive beating of high altitude dirt runways and lack of ground infrastructure maintenance... The Russian machine with their turquoise painted cockpits do it in all the rough spots of the world....

One could go on and on.. the aircraft industry is going the way of the automobile .. why do we buy japanese car is why we buy European and foreign airplanes , they are cheaper, better, and less costly to maintain than our home grown industry. they are innovative.. an airline pilot can fly all the models of the Airbus 318/319/320/321 carrying 90/110 to 200 passengers on the same ratings because of aircraft commonality.. all are fly by wire , cabins are roomier, quieter and have a better design, than the frame work of airplanes like the Boeing 737 series.. that first entered service in 1968...( yes ! you read right)

Like the huge corporations we have come to know .. Boeing is entrenched in ideas of " If it ain't broken .. and it sells.. why change things ? .. no need to re-tool no new assembly lines .. etc... " and the idea that " what else are they going to buy ? ..
Theses Companies had virtual monopolies, and sold what they wanted to captive consumers with the help of regulations virtually denying competition.. .... Guess what .. the Japanese introduce a competitor to the Pickup truck that is bigger stronger and better... The leading commuter aircraft manufacturer world wide today are Embraer (Brasil) and Bombardier ( Canada). The new LSA ( LIght Sport Aircraft - FAA category announced january 2008) Industry Is definitely going to be ruled by foreign companies.. There are already about 60 manufacturer with 2 dozen having aircrafts in the Process of FAA approvals. Cessna is the only Major manufacturer for this class that has announced a contender the Cessna 162 Skycatcher- a prototype....

Korea is buying lehman - Budweiser is Belgian /Brazilian, - Miller went to South Africa...
we need to get in tune with the rest of the world... Someone asked me the other day " what do the US and Liberia have in common" ... I responded with a blank stare. " it is the only two countries in the world that are not metric....." he added.

Globalization - is an American invention... intended to favor us.
We just haven't got to treading the manuel yet...

Posted by: Mike | August 23, 2008 12:20 PM

For those with the opinion that sending jobs overseas is bad because it leaves people in the US without jobs: Letting people overseas make your goods cheaper for you, than you could yourself, leaves more cash in your hand . Conversely, if you leave the jobs in the US you are letting inertia rule and you will end up spending more of your tax money for something equally capable. If you end up losing jobs, then it means you are inefficient anyway. Those people need to accept that what they do comparatively is inferior on price. Educate those people beyond the competition abroad, or move them to other jobs where they can benefit the country more...

Posted by: A European | August 23, 2008 12:24 PM

I can cut through all of the questions of American made, American jobs, and the obvious business model being used to procure this aircraft, as many other AC OEMs' follow the same business model,and answers the speculation's in a few notorious words.

"Welcome to Walmart :)"

Posted by: Nex-Tech Aerospace | August 23, 2008 12:30 PM

The fact of the matter is that the USAF said one thing on their RFP (Request for Proposal) and then reneged on that during source selection. That is the basis for the GAO telling the USAF to scuttle the contract they had signed with Northrop-Grumman. The USAF didn't HAVE to do that, of course. They could have waited the two or three years it would have taken for the case to work through the federal courts and THEN done it, once the court ordered them to (which would have happened).

Now the DOD can also pretend that this isn't a different RFP, despite the fact that by increasing the credit for offload, pax, and cargo above that for the KC-135, they basically have made this into a LARGE rather than a MEDIUM tanker procurement (the A330 is actually LARGER than the current USAF LARGE tanker, the KC-10, although with considerably LESS offload). But even if Congress let them get away with essentially making this a sole-source procurement, once again the courts are going to cancel this contract in two or three years, when the complaint gets to them, if DOD doesn't follow the LAW and give Boeing the time required to work a NEW RFP.

Saying that the modification is 'minor' doesn't make it minor if it affects which aircraft model is right-sized for the RFP, and this one does.

As a former USAF procurement official I can tell you that this effort has been botched from the get-go, and the USAF did most of the botching. Granted, Boeing should have reported the USAF procurement official when she hit them up for a job (in direct violation of AFR 30-30) rather than caving and giving her a job when she retired, but the regulation and the law-breaking in these last two efforts is all USAF or DOD. There has been a lot of playing games with the law in DOD procurement for a long time, but the rules have now changed. Too many people are watching these days, and even if they weren't, as the CSAR-X program demonstrates, contractors aren't playing the 'good loser' game anymore in hopes of getting the next sweetheart deal. Programs like DIVADS, the A-12, and the T-46 where billions were spent to pay off a losing contractor for government mismanagement have proven just too damn expensive to allow shady dealing to continue.

Posted by: George Hanshaw | August 23, 2008 12:30 PM

Call Boeing's bluff. They are not going to quit, just stalling for a new administration to direct the contract to them. Even if they get 6 months, they will still lose to the KC-30 and Boeing knows that so Boeing needs the new administration to give it to them. Everybody saying there has to be a competition, there already was one and Boeing lost to a better product that is the best value for us taxpayers and the warfighter. Boeing should look at the mess they made trying to force the Air Force to take the 767 tanker for the last 5 years and say we are not submitting a revised proposal because we recognize that the KC-30 is best for the taxpayer and warfighter. We learned our lesson and will start preparing for the KC-Y competition and be ready to kick Northrop's butt. Yea right, and snow will fall in July, but we could dream.

Posted by: Taxpayer | August 23, 2008 12:31 PM

That is great take Mike. Thanks for your input.

Posted by: Bill | August 23, 2008 12:40 PM

The best tanker depends on how you define your criteria for selection so let’s see.
Lowest cost: Boeing (KC-767) given its lower fuel cost ($40 billion + over forty years), infrastructure ($17 - 45 billion est.), acquisition costs maintenance cost hands down.
Most Survivable: KC-767 (Air Force, initial RfP)
Most Deployable: KC-767 (much smaller)
Most support near the fight: KC-767, see previous two, more KC-767's can get closer to the warefighters.
Most fuel efficient: KC-767
Most fuel and cargo carried: KC-777 (sorry the KC-30 can't even win here).
The KC-30 can only win using the rigged selection process cooked up by McCain the Bush Administration, which explains EADS/Northrops desperation to have the selection take place now! KC-30 supporters should point out where the KC-30 is supperior, I'm not sure there are any categories, or stop making stupid claims.

Posted by: John | August 23, 2008 12:51 PM

If the manufacturing is kept in the US (even if the bid is somewhat higher) I would think that the Gov't gets a better deal (as it gets some of its cash back in taxes), the people get a better deal (as it keeps Americans working) and the industry as a whole benefits (as the labor force remains and secondary industries are stimulated).

Posted by: Adam Hacking | August 23, 2008 12:55 PM

Boeing, Northrop or Lockheed? Who can offer the best bang for the buck?

Posted by: Gem | August 23, 2008 1:15 PM

Northrop is running scared look at the back lash to the reopened proposal. Boeing by far has the superior plane they have built over and put in service 500 tankers EADS has a big ZERO in service. What make you think that EADS is going to be able to produce the plane on time, just look at the problems and overruns they are having with the A400M. There is a reason why Boeing is the plane makers to the world...

Posted by: Twisted Tanker | August 23, 2008 1:18 PM

All you folks who think it is OK to give this work to th brits, when these things punch holes in the runways and kill your sons and daughter I assure her majesty won't give a whit. This is America, and we should use AMERICAN aircraft AND PARTS!

The brits only care about their cash drawer. Can anybody say COMET? Or have we all forgotten that set of events. NOBODY builds planes like the United States of America, why fool around with anything else?

Posted by: Max | August 23, 2008 1:19 PM

EfficiencyFirst: You obviously make your living outsourcing decent, high paying jobs to under paid workers overseas for your own personal gain! But for obvious national security reasons it is NOT a good idea in this instance!

Posted by: Debbi Atkinson | August 23, 2008 1:27 PM

"Big 'ol?" What exactly is that apostrophe taking the place of? Sigh. Another fine product of the public education system.

Posted by: Henry B. | August 23, 2008 1:34 PM

Too many unsupported charges/statements in the submitted comments. Opinions are not necessarily facts.

Seems to me the GAO found in its eight findings that NG's proposal was non responsive to a mandatory requirement. In my past such an error was considered fatal and the bidder thrown out. This was after NG had gotten spec relief by threatening to no bid.

The AF screwed up and if they don't allow a reasonable time for Boeing to respond to the NEW REQUIREMENTS then Boeing should no bid. That will put the issue in congress where it probably should be anyways.

Posted by: Captain Tom | August 23, 2008 1:42 PM

Captain Tom you got it correct...

Posted by: Twisted Tanker | August 23, 2008 1:49 PM

"Seems to me the GAO found in its eight findings that NG's proposal was non responsive to a mandatory requirement." WRONG! The GAO tooks pains to make clear that the 8 points that they found fault with were based on nothing that Northrop did. Please get your facts straight! "That will put the issue in congress where it probably should be anyways." Sure, give it to a bunch of people, most of whom couldn't tell a tanker from a tank top, and let them decide! All congress has done, with their protectionism and porkbarrel politics, is muddy the waters of this whole affair.

Posted by: Cap | August 23, 2008 2:00 PM

who cares about jobs for americans anyways.not our government,our our corporations. were global citizens now? our natural resources and our jobs should be given up to the highest / or lowest bidder!!vive la U.N.

Posted by: rob | August 23, 2008 2:02 PM

Hey Folks we are off shoring everything else, why not this ? I think our next move should be off shoring all the politicians and CEO's. now that would make us a really great country. We all know the Indian's and chines are smarter. get a grip America.

Posted by: JohnColorado | August 23, 2008 2:03 PM

Strangly enough the same plane that Boeing wants to put up was canceled because it would cost the taxpayers 100 billion for a plane that underperformed and undersold in the world market. Why the heck should the military want to take a crack at it again. Thank Senator John McCain for exposing this boondogle. Now let the Air Force buy the tanker they need. As far as I see the Boeing plane holds more fuel so it does not need to land at the location of the fight.

Posted by: Don | August 23, 2008 2:03 PM

Fact – Both companies outsource the manufacturing of certain components of their aircraft. The wealth of technology, jobs and cost are shared.

If Boeing is correct and developmental costs of the A330 was partially funded by the EU “OK”; it is a win win for America. The Air Force should see special cost considerations reflected in the basic aircraft delivery price from EADS. America and its Allied Nations will receive an exceptional advanced airframe design at a reduced cost.

The Boeing 767 is an outstanding aircraft, well built but a dated aircraft. If the cost analyses are correct for the 767 upgrade, the up-front cost to America will be outside the window for an economic purchase. The best selection for Boeing would be the 787, however, per unit savings on manufacturing methods introduced by Boeing will not be realized until the next Tanker bid cycle. The all-composite transport airframe design is the future.

Suggestions –
Air Force –
Allow a level playing field with Airbus and Boeing. Make the ITAR compliance requirements the same for both companies or allow Boeing the same rights Airbus has in relation to “Allied Nation Status”.

Authorize a concept design contract into the First Tanker Phase Contract for Boeing to up-grade the 787 for future Military considerations. The contract would speculate all rotable components must fully integrate between the A330 and the 787. The US Airbus suppliers would be used for the 787 Tanker the only design difference would be the airframe.

Split the First Tanker Procurement Phase into three separate negotiated contracts – (No single source contract)

Airframe – A330 Freighter Airframe
Allow A330 sole contract to EADS North America for the Aircraft to be assembled in the United States. All rotable components of the aircraft must be manufactured in the US.

Military Specifications Integrator –
Allow Northrop Grumman a sole contract to provide the Military Upgrades to the Airframe.

Airframe “Life Cycle” Maintenance Support –
Allow Boeing the Life Cycle Maintenance Support Contract. Boeing has a proven track record with the Air Force and understands the Military needs in Theatre Operations and management of Tanker “MRO” Maintenance Operations.
If I were on the Boeing Board of Directors, I would suggest this approach. There is more money in Life Cycle Support and Technology Up-Grades than the redesign approach to the 767. This would give Boeing time to stabilize the 787 Line and incorporate their new manufacturing methods Plant Wide.

Second Tanker Phase

Airframe – Sole Contract Boeing 787SF Tanker

Military Specifications Integrator – Northrop Grumman

Airframe “Life Cycle” Maintenance Support Open Bid Contract– Boeing or EADS North America

Conclusion – The Air Force, Boeing and EADS must work together to finalize this Tanker contract for America. The emerging China/Russia Commercial Aerospace Sectors being flush with cash is a sign EADS and Boeings very existence is dependent upon each other.

Posted by: Joe from Mobile | August 23, 2008 2:05 PM

Apparently, Boeing doesn't understand "behind schedule" and "over-budget"! It's probably the reasons they lost the bid in the first place!

Posted by: goatrope | August 23, 2008 2:14 PM

The last I knew it was the " United States Air Force" not the French air force!!! They should be built in the United States by Americans. We as Americans should demand through our buying power that our products are manufactured here. When so called American companies send work over seas they lose money. We have spent billions of dollars in Iraq and we ( United States )will never recover our waisted tax dollars. When Our government sends our tax dollars overseas we lose! To anyone who doesn't see that when your job gets eliminated don't cry about loosing your house or not being able to send your kids to college so the can work in India in an out-sourced job. As far as the comment about unions, There have been a lot of people die fighting to secure higher wages for workers. If you think for one minute that some company would pay more than minimum wages for work you are misled. In this day and age it is about high pay for a select few CEO's and the shrinking middle class gets smaller and smaller. After all you can only truly be wealthy if everyone else is destitute.

Posted by: Don | August 23, 2008 2:16 PM

Dear Sir,

The GAO made a ruling that the award was unfair and the government has change the RFP to match how they rated the prior proposals.

It would seem that it is in the taxpayer best interest to allow the time for correct bids based on the proposals.

Why would anybody think that we should have a selection that was made on something that was not in the proposal as being good.

Trust me friends when I say, we need to have a fair and balance proposal and make the correct selection. If that takes 6 months, and the taxpayer can save money do it.

It sounds to me that there is somebody out there that has then finger in the cookie jar on this one.

God Bless You

Posted by: Dear Sir | August 23, 2008 2:26 PM

Steve's new technologies are the wind mills that will be powering all of our aircraft in the future. Haven't you been listening to Al Gore? We don't need no stinking tankers.

Posted by: Mike | August 23, 2008 2:33 PM

Is there anyone out there other than Joe from Mobile with a brain?

Posted by: Richard from New Haven | August 23, 2008 2:44 PM

BOEING, A Jurassic minded management that cannot compete on equal terms.

Sour Grapes and inferior products, destined to become extinct....

Posted by: devilliers | August 23, 2008 2:55 PM

As a member of the USAF I am getting fed up. When do we finally get to have our planes? That is the issue that has been lost in all of this. We need the best possible airplane and we needed it yesterday. The military should not be so politicized and last time I checked our purpose was to defend our country not subsidize our economy! The longer this shameful ordeal drags on, the longer our capabilities decline. Oh yeah, I'm tired of hearing about the danger of letting a foreign company make such sensitive equipment. We are not talking about the stealth fighter or a nuclear weapon; this is a flying gas can, one which is based close to 90% on a civilian airliner no matter which company makes it.

Posted by: Rick | August 23, 2008 3:00 PM

Boeing will shoot themselves in the foot. This was only one of the refueling contracts that will be awarded over the next few decades.

The procurement process is sooo complicated and drawn out, lets get on with it already. Lets get some new tin in the hands of the world's best airmen.

The same thing happened when the AF tried getting new choppers of the CSAR-X project. All it does is make things more expensive. Tack on inflation every year onto 40 Billion. Thanks Boeing the tax payers love you...

You lost Boeing, Sorry, go home and get ready for the next contract and quit wasting everyones time including your own.

Posted by: Rick | August 23, 2008 3:01 PM

Cap took issue with me saying: "...WRONG! The GAO took pains to make clear that the 8 points that they found fault with were based on nothing that Northrop did. Please get your facts straight!"

Au Contraire, Cap! You're the one that has it wrong. The fifth GAO finding states in part, "GAO found that the AF improperly accepted NG's proposal, even though the firm took exception to a material solicitation requirement. NG was informed several times that the firm had not committed to the 2-year time frame, but NG refused to commit to the required schedule....GAO concluded that NG's refusal to do so could not be considered an "administrative oversight" as was found by the AF in its evaluation."

Cap, you need to read the GAO report and quit drinking Kool Aide.

Captain Tom

Posted by: Captain Tom | August 23, 2008 3:03 PM

If you asked me, I would rather my taxpayer dollars went to finding a cure for cancer, Alzheimer's...or even the common cold.
40 billion dollars for "gas station in the sky" is a waste.
Many countries use their taxpayer dollars to provide their citizens with free health care, free college education, free social services.
Though a aerial gas station might be useful in some future combat situation, as a country we have more pressing and immediate needs.
Why , we could even use the 40 billion dollars to pay off some of our national debt. Imagine

Posted by: Norris Hall | August 23, 2008 3:09 PM

This just another McCain boondoggle. He wanted Air Bus to get the contract and said this would be good for America. What is he smoking? Made in USA period!! This is akin to our law enforcement agencies that carry a foreign made plastic gun. What are we thinking sending all that money off shore? We have very competent firearm makers here. Our country is littered with abandoned factories and our politicians say it's good for America. Wake up people you have been sold down the toilet. I say we fire all of our leaders and get some Americans in office. Throw the tea back in the harbor so to speak.

Posted by: Rick Barter | August 23, 2008 3:28 PM

Boeing must come up with a MUCH, better-valued bid for the U.S. Air Force to accept than the one they tried to slide past them (and us)!

Look, if Boeing had a proposal that was roughly equal or fractionally less than NG then Boeing would have won. Boeing is an American company and had political supporters with voters on their side. This was a bid for Boeing to lose, no doubt in my mind.

But the Air Force could not responsibly ignore a bid that would be a win for the U.S. taxpayers AND the U.S. military. If people really looked at what Boeing offered, we would be blaming the U.S. Air Force for accepting a ridiculously bloated bid for planes with old designs. These planes are slight modifications of a commercially failed plane the airline companies don't want.

In order for NG to win, they put up a no-nonsense, great valued product. The A.F. was thinking the same as the normal American puts behind buying a Toyota versus a Chevy. More bang for the buck.

If NG was all-American, we wouldn't be having this discussion and the first test tanker would be easing it's way out of the hanger by this time next year. The 3 P's are clouding the issue: Politics, propaganda, and profit.

Boeing, stop trying to maximize your profits and selling us old equipment with a facelift while hiding behind the false indignation that Americans will be losing jobs. Deliver a great product like NG; don't try to make a killing off of us taxpayers. Boeing is killing this bid. We deserve better.

Posted by: FairBid | August 23, 2008 3:29 PM

Captain Tom: You got me there. But if that is the worst thing NG did (especially when Boeing is three years late with Italy's order), then Boeing really IS in trouble! By the way, everybody knows it is "Kool-Aid"; there is no "e" on the end; are you sure you are a real American??? ;-)

Posted by: Cap | August 23, 2008 3:29 PM

For those of you who do not know, a RFP (request for proposal) sates its specific requirments. Based on those requirments, the suppliers respond to the RFP. The size was not a specified requirment on the first RFP, thus no extra point were given to the supplier who brought in a bigger tanker. The new RFP, gives points to the size of the tanker now, the bigger the better, which means Boeing 767 platform may not be prefered. For this reasons Boeing will have to consider a new RFP or if it thinks the costs are to high will pull out of the competition. This is a new RFP which favors Air Buss. And for those of you who are americans and do not know, your money, through taxes, will go in the poket of French people, instead of your families here in USA. If you want to bolg, get your facts straight, Boeing rocks & it has provided tankers for 70 years. The truth is that the Federal Aquisition Process has gotten really messy because it's influenced by politicians and when politicians fight the working class gets the undesired consequences.

Posted by: Al | August 23, 2008 3:33 PM

I quote the above Norris Hall "Many countries use their taxpayer dollars to provide their citizens with free health care, free college education, free social services..." And how? Because we, the USAF, provide protection, support and emergency supplies to them during times of crisis using these so called "gas stations in the sky" to get there. Because we send contracts to manufacturers overseas whose employees can enjoy the same fruits of their labors as we do in America (food, shelter, and clothing). The need for a replacement is significant and warranted at this time in history. May the company with the best product suited to the job win and win big!

Posted by: ron p | August 23, 2008 3:46 PM

If the Air Force adjusted their requirements then it is reasonable to allow Boeing to adjust their design.

As a tax-payer and US citizen I want the best two bids submitted for evaluation. As it stands now it would be a farce ...

And let us not forget, Northrup/Airbus threatened to pull out earlier if they did not get their way (credit for a larger tanker, etc.) ...

Posted by: Fred S. | August 23, 2008 3:50 PM

Just to show most people how uninformed the public has been. The work will not take place overseas, but in Mobile, Alabama. Now I know that a lot of you enlightened Americans think of Alabama as another country, or that we are a bunch of rubes, but don't be fooled. Northrup is an American company and most of the components will be manufactured in the good ole US of A. There is not one single major aircraft that is manufactured entirely in one country anymore. Most all of them have a great number of components made in the US. Boeing just got caught trying to run a scam and the USAF has gotten pretty good at the contract game. The really sad part is that our paid for politicians, the temporary hired help such as Barrack Obama,have gotten into this issue and are playing games with peoples lives.

Posted by: Donald | August 23, 2008 3:50 PM

This is really not about refueling tankers for the USAF (even though the Air Force may think it is). The real issue is whether or not EADS builds a large manufacturing facility on U.S. soil. EADS plans to use the tanker contract to finance the construction of the facility. Boeing will use their political clout to stop the facility. If the Air Force wants to get this tanker purchase rolling anytime soon, they should give in and accept whatever Boeing is willing to provide them.

It should be clear to all that the EADS offer is far superior to the Boeing offer. If that was not the case, the Air Force would have chosen the Boeing plane and avoided all this fallout. Even though it is second best, the Boeing design does not have detriments that would rule it incapable of completing the missions.

The Air Force should just accept the Boeing proposal and pay Northrop Grumman/EADS for their time and effort spent. And we Americans can hope and pray that Boeing doesn’t attempt to shortchange the taxpayers like they did in the initial lease award and on the border security virtual-fence project.

Posted by: AmericanTaxpayer | August 23, 2008 3:53 PM

Do you people even realize where these planes are going to be built? Mobile Alabama, that is not off shore, some of you need to get a US map and learn a little about this country.

Posted by: George | August 23, 2008 3:57 PM

Boeing it seems can not only read an RFP but neither can they react to the award going to NG/EADS five months ago they appealed what the hell have they been doing?

Instead of upsetting the USAF top brass & spending a fortune on miss informed & cheap anti NG/EADS media bombardment they should have been working on an alternative to the fossil tanker they proposed & that seemingly air force in the world wants.

Perhaps the 7late7 takes a priority in terms of programme recovery/delivery as the 767 airliner production line is now closing & with it the 767 tanker seems destined for the rubbish bin.

Boeing seems more concerned that EADS is setting up a US production base than offering a quality tanker they should exit from this farce, which they have created.

Posted by: Wilber Wrong | August 23, 2008 4:01 PM

Please !!!! Boeing does NOT manufacture in US... it assembles ! like EADS Most of the components are all ready outsourced ... 70% of Boeing's work is done abroad ! Today

Quote "Many Americans did not take notice in the beginning, because it was only the low-paid manufacturing workers making toys, shoes and clothing that lost their jobs to cheap foreign competition. But next to go were the higher-paid shipbuilders and steel producers; now it is auto workers and others.

Continually moving further up the value chain, the Los Angeles Times says that even highly skilled, higher-paid American workers are starting to feel the outsourcing pinch. Jobs such as engineers, computer software scientists, Hollywood animators and aerospace manufacturers are all now under threat.

Take Boeing, for example. This American giant is the type of company that symbolizes the “high-tech leadership on which the future of the U.S. economy is widely said to depend” (Newsweek, Dec. 2, 2005). Yet, 20 years ago, most of its aircraft parts were manufactured domestically, while today, sadly, up to “70 percent of the airframe of the company’s next-generation 787 Dreamliner will be made overseas, including key parts such as the fuselage and wings.” Even the engine will be produced outside the U.S., while workers inside the U.S. are left with layoffs.

Some economists have noticed manufacturing losses, but because the negative long-term ramifications have not become fully manifest in the economy, people are willing to turn a blind eye. Over the short term, companies have become richer through outsourcing, and consumers are happy because they have cheaper toys. But this will not last forever. At some point, manufacturing job losses will mean Americans will not be able to afford toys at all.

Posted by: Mike.. | August 23, 2008 4:04 PM

Some interesting information on just who is a stake holder in EADS. It seems the Russians own more than 5% of EADS stock. It seems we are exporting our core military technology to a company that may not have our best interest at heart.

Posted by: Jack | August 23, 2008 4:15 PM

Welcome to Free Enterprise. May the best man win. Lets shop this out?

The entire bidding process is indeed flawed because the cost of pentagon bureaucracy and their inability to understand that IF the cost of pentagon bureaucracy is not accounted for, the project will surely run out of money as the low ball (who always wins) will be back begging for more money after they've hooked us with a half done project. Next, the falling value of the U$ dollar makes it virtually impossible to calculate what costs of goods will be 5 years from now much less 20 years from now.

To solve this problem the contract should be awarded to BOTH in an initial PHASE ONE development and let us see actually which one can produce the tanker on budget as they propose.

Posted by: Elwood | August 23, 2008 4:37 PM

If the Pentagon does not give the chance for an even better airframe (777) to enter the challenge, then it would remain obvious that the government does hold grudges. As far as being an American taxpayer and a Boeing employee, I would not understand how saving 6 months off an already 3 years behind schedule would be a wise decision, especially when this airframe chosen will end up in the field for 50 years. You want an awsome plane, lets see the 777 line up and really have a contest.

Posted by: Yup | August 23, 2008 4:42 PM

It does cost a lot of money to bid this project regardless. But a lot of *.gov contractors know how to milk the system and tax payers, have profited on this for decades and Boeing is a prime example. Looks like Boeing's days of bullying their way around in the A&D market may be coming to an end or at least until their internal "old guard" retires and allows new skin in the game.

Posted by: Jake | August 23, 2008 4:47 PM

I guess they better give Boeing more time! LOL!
gotta luv it !!

Posted by: BoeingEmployee | August 23, 2008 4:49 PM

Boeing is much like its good neighbor Microsoft in that it very nearly never advances the state of the art, and considers it good business to assert that its product represents 'the standard' irrespective of merit. Airbus, while very much a human and imperfect institution, has nonetheless consistently done more than Boeing to advance the state of technology employed in commercial aircraft while Boeing has relied largely on older technology in order to maximize short term profit. In this instance there is little doubt the Airbus offering is the more capable aircraft, a great number of jobs would in fact be in the US, as would a significant portion of profits, and there is no meaningful concern of sensitive technology finding its way to adversaries. The US exports enormous dollar volumes of military aircraft. It is absurd to argue it ought never to foreign-source. Parochialism and advocacy of mediocrity hardly constitute an appropriate policy. Let Boeing have what it wants--let them not bid, let the contract be let, and let the AF begin the process of modernizing its tanker force.

Posted by: Al Just Al | August 23, 2008 4:55 PM

how corrupt, the whole bidding process is. Clearly Boeing was offering a inferior product. The EADS project would have secured many jobs in the USA. It is so obvious that corruption is behind this. Just because the company is American does not give them the liberty to rip off the american tax payer.

Posted by: ayzaic | August 23, 2008 4:58 PM

As a veteran of hundreds of product development projects, I know for sure that if you can't work long enough hours to get the bid done in time, you are not going to be able to deliver a quality product.
Not just on time -- Ever.

I do dislike the jobs overseas thing, but Northrup Grumman is the owner of the boom technology and folks, that's a gringo, yankee company.

So if Boeing can't meet the deadline, know that they have by default chosen the better solution.

Posted by: Tom Mariner | August 23, 2008 5:02 PM

Our military jet suppliers have been hand in hand with raking over the taxpayer for many years. Many military systems and weapons are failed commercial ventures stuck on the taxpayers in collusion with politicians and some of the very same military officers and aeroengineers. My favorites are the P-3 and A-6. Sounds like things havn't changed much. I am sure that Northrup put some of the same things into their bid. Maybe the military should build their own damn equipment.

Posted by: Teresa | August 23, 2008 5:06 PM

"a RFP (request for proposal) sates its specific requirments. Based on those requirments, the suppliers respond to the RFP"

Remember, though, a contractor can make ground rules & assumptions on particular requirements as part of their bid. Typically happens for techinical, schedule, or cost requirements which are unclear or unreasonable.

I don't know if anyone here has mentioned past performance. Boeing is majorly overrun and over schedule on Future Combat Systems, missile defense, space station, and on, and on costing taxpayers untold billions of dollars

Posted by: Mike | August 23, 2008 5:16 PM

To heck with the Air Force. They like contracting everything so much how about Congress let the Japanese Self Defense force buy tankers....and Congress will rent them as needed thru Navy contracts.

The Air Force/Navy Corporate Defense Contracting fraud/robbing of the Treasury needs to stop. Give the money to our allies and force the Air Force to figure out how they are going to fly in 10 years without oil....more important national security need.

Posted by: Jofas | August 23, 2008 5:48 PM

Ok... lets look at this... if a foreign company provides the components for this tanker contract, then they will be the holders/producers of all spare parts and components. A major aspect of any contract to sell or lease aircraft is how much money will be made off of spare parts down the line. I would even argue that it is by far the more lucrative aspect of a deal. Do we really wanna leak our money overseas for a long time to come?

Posted by: Eric | August 23, 2008 5:50 PM

As an ex Boeing-ite let me say that the engineering and manufacturing giants who made Boeing what it was, were all subordinated in the '70s, when the money men took over.

Technical proposals and decisions that were made by competent engineers with adequate financial considerations, were now turned around. So called management experts called the shots. The new CEO (Wilson?)had come up from SPEA ranks. His handling of the union contracts favorable to Boeing brought him to the attention of the administration. He was sent to "charm school" to mold him into management material. Technical proposals based on innovation, hunches and experience now had to be proven valid to non technical people. Changes had to be charted, programmed and cost analyzed.

So real innovation stopped with the 757

The new CEO promised the Board that he knew how to get Air Force contracts, and that military craft should be the main product of Boeing, instead of commercial airplanes. So for about 15 years or so Boeing all they had to show for this effort was a minor Pilotless Aircraft contract. Newspapers and magazines were subjected to an outlandish PR campaign to cover this minor event.

From now on everything was just adding new stuff to their existing commercial products. Is this innovation?

Note that the original 707 was produced on the back of the KC-145, which paid for most of the development costs. Govt. subsidy ?

To go further back, before WW2, the Air Force submitted an RFP for "Multiple Engined Bombers" thinking they would get twin engined craft. Lo and behold Boeing exceeded the requirement and to the chagrin of competitors came up with the winning four engined "Flying Fortress."

De Ja Vue Airbus?

Again, in the hey day of technical innovation a Boeing Vice President reportedly in his spare time drew up the China Clipper, a legendary flying boat.!!, and CEO Bill Allen bet the company's shirt on the 707

Seems like the money men and lawyers are still running Boeing. I doubt if their Europeans counterparts are so hampered. Boeing seeks to eliminate the competition by buying them out, taking them to court, or Old Boying the Military

Posted by: artboy | August 23, 2008 5:56 PM

I do dislike the jobs overseas thing, but Northrup Grumman is the owner of the boom technology and folks, that's a gringo, yankee company.

Nope, the boom technology was developed by EADS and is built by EADS, albeit in West Virginia. All critical technologies, the air frame and boom and refueling technologies are built by EADS. Northrop pretty much just installs the black boxes, paints the aircraft and puts on the decals. Oh yeah and most importantly does the advertising and marketing.

Posted by: John | August 23, 2008 6:01 PM

Given that the Manchurian Candidate, McCain, has two major contributors that are both his campaign officials and lobbyists for EADS and that McCain has written letters in support of his lobbyist supporters to go with EADS and that McCain has asked to expedite the selection to favor EADS, I suspect that McCain has McCain's best interests in mind and at heart. "Hurry up and pick my friends." Just like he dumped his first wife, he has dumped the USA. More money from his lobbyists means more McCain. He needs to buy another house with an accountant that can count beyond one.

Posted by: geocopy | August 23, 2008 6:05 PM

wah wah wah.
Ilove it that Airbus got the tanker deal. Boeing, as the largest manufacturer of weapons in the world, should share the sandbox.

Posted by: dan | August 23, 2008 6:08 PM

"Airbus, while very much a human and imperfect institution, has nonetheless consistently done more than Boeing to advance the state of technology employed in commercial aircraft while Boeing has relied largely on older technology in order to maximize short term profit"

I think you need to check your aviation history. Boeing has pretty much defined modern jet travel.
Boeing: 1st widebody aircraft: 747, 1st successful jet: 707, 1st composite fusalage: 787, 1st use of composites in commercial jet: 727, 1st modern shorthall twin: 737, 1st ETOPs (trans atlantic) certified twin: 767, 1st use of a modern turbofan engines: 747, 1st commercial plane designed and prototyped solely by computer: 777 (This is the issue that has lead to the A380 being more than 2 years late), and many more.
Airbus: 1st widebody twinjet: A300 (on which the A330 is based) and that's pretty much it for significant firsts.

Posted by: John | August 23, 2008 6:24 PM

"McCain, has two major contributors that are both his campaign officials and lobbyists for EADS"

Yeah and obama is from Illinois --corporate home of Boeing. I'm sure obama hasn't taken a dime of special interest money... Washington, Missouri, Illinois, and Kansas politicians on both sides are rolling in Boeing money so spare us the EADS / McCain lobbying bs.

I'm a Ron Paul man, myself, but I credit McCain for derailing the asinine tanker lease scam that Boeing and the AF cooked up.

Posted by: Mike | August 23, 2008 6:31 PM

Nope, the boom technology was developed by EADS and is built by EADS, albeit in West Virginia. All critical technologies, the air frame and boom and refueling technologies are built by EADS. Northrop pretty much just installs the black boxes, paints the aircraft and puts on the decals. Oh yeah and most importantly does the advertising and marketing

And the point in this would be what? Boeing offered an inferior product and tried to rip off the american tax payer its that simple. And now they want to be allowed time for the sake that they are Boeing. The way Boeing does business is totally unethical. If EADS has a superior product that if purchased will create many American jobs in the process then why not. I think Boeing needs to be taught a lesson, that the military is going to purchase the product that meets the needs of the military not the needs of "profit"

Posted by: ayceman | August 23, 2008 6:33 PM

I think you need to check your aviation history. Boeing has pretty much defined modern jet travel.
Boeing: 1st widebody aircraft: 747, 1st successful jet: 707, 1st composite fusalage: 787, 1st use of composites in commercial jet: 727, 1st modern shorthall twin: 737, 1st ETOPs (trans atlantic) certified twin: 767, 1st use of a modern turbofan engines: 747, 1st commercial plane designed and prototyped solely by computer: 777 (This is the issue that has lead to the A380 being more than 2 years late), and many more.
Airbus: 1st widebody twinjet: A300 (on which the A330 is based) and that's pretty much it for significant firsts.

And your point is????? Boeing offered an outdated design that did not meet the needs of the air force. EADS product was superior. Whatever their accomplishments it sure was not reflected buy what they were offering. To rip off the American Tax payer.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 23, 2008 6:37 PM

The point is pretty obvious, if you can't point out any innovations made by Airbus mabye you should refrain from making the claim. The fact you have to resort to such a stupid remark shows how bankrupt your arguement is. Either back up your assertions with facts or don't make them. The facts can speak themselves if given a chance and no amount of saying mines bigger or mines better without providing any reason or rational will sway anyone to your side.

Posted by: John | August 23, 2008 6:44 PM

The point is pretty obvious, if you can't point out any innovations made by Airbus mabye you should refrain from making the claim. The fact you have to resort to such a stupid remark shows how bankrupt your arguement is. Either back up your assertions with facts or don't make them. The facts can speak themselves if given a chance and no amount of saying mines bigger or mines better without providing any reason or rational will sway anyone to your side

This is not a debate of innovations this is debate about Boeings business practices my friend. Let me ask you something did Boeing offer their dreamliner design or the 777? at all in their bid. Boeing offered one of their older designs, and EADS offered a more advanced one. Thats a fact, and that fact has swayed many people, or have you not failed notice that?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 23, 2008 6:54 PM

Actually I think everyone noticed that the 767 is of a slightly earlier vintage than the A330, and that is why the selection process should be delayed. The original RFP was written to replace to the KC-135. The KC-767 is a great KC-135 replacement, the KC-30 is 82% bigger and is pretty much in an entirely different class of aircraft. The RFP requested that both aircraft meet or exceed the KC-135s performance and it also included the very nebulous clause of offering extra credit after Northrop whined and said they would withdrawl without the extra credit. The point is that during the process the Air Force effectively modified the RFP to favor a larger aircraft than originally requested. If the USAF had it's act together Boeing would have offered an aircraft like the 777, and they need the time not because of their own malfeasance, but because of the way the USAF handled the RFP. Also, the A330 is based on the A300, which first flew in 1972, Both the 767 and A300 have undergone improvements since then (new avionics and flight control improvements) and are pretty much technologically equal except for one thing, the wing. The A330 has a new wing where the 767 (First flight 1981) uses the original wing. This however, is a mixed bag since while the A330 wing is more efficient it is also much bigger, making it incompatible with much of our existing infrastructure. The estimates to upgrade the infrastructure to cope with the A330's big wing vary greatly but run from around $17 to $45 billion dollars. So ask yourself this, is getting a more modern wing worth the problems it creates in deployment, survivability, and operational problems and costs billions to accomodate worth it?

Posted by: John | August 23, 2008 7:13 PM

This is in response to LeapingLizards and his question, "Can you imagine the French approving a US company to build their army tanks?" The answer is, "Yes, yes I can." Five Buffalo III vehicles from Force Protection, Inc. The contract is worth $3.5 million and is scheduled for completion in November 2008.

I could only scroll through about three quarters of the commentary. I anticipated that some of "knuckleheads" would stop posting after reading some of the more relevant and informed posts.

The next "killer app" could be a "Stupid Filter" for message boards.

Posted by: Wardzy | August 23, 2008 7:28 PM

It is amazing how the Airbus/Northrup cheerleaders will address every issue except the facts that brought us here:

1) The GAO pushed to suspend the Airbus/Northrup award due to massive irregularities in the bidding process. There was no mention of one plane being superior to the other.

2) The Pentagon responded by re-opening the competition, revised the RFP to favor a larger plane, and set the bidding dead-line to finish by the end of the year.

3) Boeing is asking for appropriate amount of time so it will have a chance to give the Air Force what it wants.

What reasonable taxpayer will not stand up for a fair and open competition? Also, even if in the end Airbus/Northrup wins ... Boeing will still be employ more people in the state of Alabama. So what gives with the trashing of Boeing emloyees?

Posted by: Fred S. | August 23, 2008 8:15 PM


wow...loved your directed comments at me...i feel so good now...i'm wondering if your from the south????...well...that is subject of another back to the tanker subject...

yes the process was wrong...if you can't see it then you really don't have any understanding of government procurement...

you know, i really don't care who wins this...I don't care....the amount of $$ sounds like a lot but in the overall scheme of things, it's not much when you look at The Boeing Co is a very small amount over the next 40 years or so....Boeing's real money is in Seattle...commerical planes...that is if they can ever get their act together and get that 787 off the ground....and then get on to the 737 replacement.(which will be a very hard thing to do)...and there are a couple of others on the drawing board...

When the GAO came out and said mistakes were made...well, once again, cap, I will try to get this across....mistakes of the type that the GAO put down in their report are not made in fair proposal evaluations. I can't offer any "Proof" of intentional wrong doing.....for there has NOT been any investigations nor any court procedings....but, as i said, there should be.....especially since there have been some rather high ranking officials in the gov that have had to resign....(for other reasons...)

if you think that Boeing has lobbyist...then the fact that there seems to be a lot of them in the south too....this is not a north south thing....this is a fair evaluation thing...I'm going to try to make this clear for you......the RFQ said...something to the fact...that extra credit was NOT going to be given to beating the RFQ in certain of those areas was in the size of the aircraft...and fuel offload capability (I believe...have to go back and read that report again)..........well they gave Northrup credit for a larger plane, holding more fuel, & offloading more fuel, hold more congressmen...they lied and that is a violation (or a mistake in the wording of the GAO)...there is some proof of wrongdoing...if you can't see it, then you are a product of the fine education system that i mentioned...that's for 2...why didn't the RFQ include the costs that would have been added to the entire Northrup package for larger hangers....where the Boeing plane didn't need them because the 767 fits existing facilities...???....the government ignored those costs...and now 3....they screwed up the TOC and after the fact, the gov came back out and admitted it...the Boeing plane was cheaper...another screw up...I tell you..mistakes like these are NOT made in evaluations...that is if they are fair...this was not fair....go read the 68 page GAO report....i would bet you haven't???...and i will take that bet....go read it and read it again...i have...4 times....and still find things in there that aren't right...i could go on...but why should won't believe it...

and if you really want to add to this conjecture..i can do about the fact that Airbus spent the many many billions of dollars or euros or whatever on a plane (A380) that they will never make a profit on...never...not in a hundred years....and on top of it, when they saw what the 787 has done they had to come up with a competitive alternative...A350 and after having to redesign this who knows how many times...because the first A350 was not what the airlines here we are...going to bail them out with a tanker deal so the free world has 2 competitive companies building large commerical it what you want...but the US is going to keep them in business....they should have gone the way of all the other aircraft manufacturers that can't compete.......or have made very bad decisions in the's that simple...if the european people want to continue to bail them out then let them..I for one, don't want to....

I love your..."congress cronies" gotta be a liberal...only liberals use the word "cronies"...and it is just so very hard to get through to liberals..after all, there aren't cronies when referring to a liberal president...they are friends of bill....

and now on to the "Boeing Arrogance" thing...i don't know anything about I want proof from you..what Boeing Arrogance???....all i want is a fair evaluation of the want to refer to arrogance???...the go to airbus and look at the engineering decision to build the A380...however could they ever justify that is beyond anyone in the aircraft industry...except in arrogance...they didn't have anything the size of a they, for some reason, made it even larger....they did the same thing back in the 60's when they built the concord...and we didn't build the supersonic aircraft...we knew there was no way to make $$$...they didn't care,,,they had a blank government check....the concord was a flop...but it was arrogance that made them do it...

oh...btw...the lobbyists thing...why didn't you say anything about why or how lockheed won all the fighters for the next 20-30 years....i still find it hard to believe that they had better designed aircraft on paper than the Boeing/MacDac/Rockwell merged aerospace companies...???...must be those southern lobbyists...hey..i'm just going by your thinking here...

later Cap...gotta go....

Posted by: Bob | August 23, 2008 8:19 PM

Bob: Oh, my, where do I begin? You say you can't provide any proof of intentional wrongdoing..if so, then you can't factually say that the whole process was slanted away from Boeing on purpose...that is not a fact, just your opinion. If you can't tell fact from opinion, maybe YOUR education needs an upgrade. Whether the Northrop (with an "o", you should learn to spell it) or Boeing plane was slightly cheaper is not the question, the question has always been what is the best VALUE. The two don't mean the same. Arrogance? How aboout constantly alleging that Northrop was going to send jobs overseas when they knew that wasn't true? How about saying that Northrop was putting our security at risk? How about refusing to reveal how many jobs that their proposal would create? How about advertising a full page ad showing their Japanese tankers (you know, the ones that arent certified to fly) and alleging they were the same as what the AF wanted? How about asking for another six months for our men and women in uniform to have to wait for their tankers, in the vain hope that a new administration would hand the deal over to them? That is ARROGANCE. I'm glad you liked the "cronies" thing; I notice you didn't refute it. One more thing... you say it isn't a "North/South" thing, yet you seem to bring it up repreatedly. I may be hard to get through to a liberal, but it is even harder to get through to a bigot.

Posted by: Cap | August 23, 2008 9:05 PM

Are the Boeing exec and the DoD civilian still in jail, from Boeing's previous scam? The 707 and 747 were leapfrog products, but as others of you have pointed out, Boeing hasn't done much good work in the last 20-30 years. Boeing is like the US auto companies of the 70s and 80s, building higer-priced, lower-quality products, and yelling "Buy American!"

Posted by: Sam | August 23, 2008 9:07 PM

GAO upholds that the Air Force did not select the best plane based on what the Air Force said that it wanted. So now the Air Force goes out and changes the rules which favors thier choice anyways. I think I'd consider leaving the game too...

Posted by: WTX | August 23, 2008 10:08 PM

I wouldn't necessarily agree with the statement Boeing hasn't done anything over the last 20 years. If you take a look at the last two new aircraft put out by Airbus the A380 and the A340-500/600, both of these planes have been disastrous money losing flops. The A340NGs have been soundly outsold by Boeing's 777 by ratios of around 10 to 1 in recent years. In addition the A340-500/600 production line is drying up and the plane may go out of production in the next few years, this is an absolute disaster and for a plane that made its first sale in 2003. In addition the A380 was delivered over 2 years late and nearly $8 billion over budget. The plane is still running behind Airbus’s revised production schedule and will never make a dime for Airbus. Compare these two planes with Boeing’s most recent entries, the 777NG (777-200LR and 777-300ER) and the Boeing 787. The new generation 777s have helped pushed total sales over 1,000 for the 777 and have pretty much killed the A340NG. The 787 despite delays is the fastest selling airliner in history with nearly 900 frames sold before its first flight, and despite the delay it still has two years to go to match the A380 for tardiness in its delivery target. I would agree that in the period from the time the 767 came out till Airbus designed to A340NG, Airbus was more forward looking creative company. However, since the A340 mess, Boeing has soundly outperformed Airbus. If you want to go by recent design innovations and performance of competing aircraft Boeing has beaten Airbus hands down for the last 6 or 7 years.

Posted by: John | August 23, 2008 10:23 PM

Joe wrote "An American company should get this contract, period."

Then it's reasonable that other countries should only buy their own products. Which means Boeing can forget about selling the F22 to the Europeans/English/Australians/Israelis/etc - which is a much much bigger opportunity than harping on some outdated plane. Or at the very least, apply American protectionist mentality only towards American products.

Come to think of it, the US can't even buy the Boeing tanker, as much of the plane is sourced from outside the US. I'm not even sure if Washington apples would count, as the fertilizer probably comes from elsewhere.

Posted by: David | August 24, 2008 12:43 AM

Poor Boeing,they never learned that it is the lowest bidder who wins contacts.why should the tax payers be bullied with the treat of lost jobs when Boeing is no different than any other so called All American company.Like Motorola who assembles radios and other electronics in American factories with 991/9th % of the circuit boards and parts made out of the country. Even the equipment case they are installing in comes from an off shore .source. Boeing imports and off shore builds as much as all the rest of the so called All American companies. So give the tax payers a break and find someone willing to offer an honest bid.After all Boeing is not the only company in the world who knows how to build a tanker aircraft.

Posted by: Lansair | August 24, 2008 2:20 AM

The comments here are delightful, its hows you people are not stupid. I know people who have visited the Boeing plant and I have worked in Project Management for years. It doesnt take six months to re-bid something like this. Further, the fact that Boeing wants that long should tell you that they know they were trying to screw tax payors the first time around, in stead of doing a proper bid. Its about time the US government said "screw you" to corporations who think they have a monopoly. I gurantee if we re-bid this to non-US makers, suddenly Boeings price would go down even further for some strange reason.

Posted by: WHAT | August 24, 2008 2:52 AM

Yes, we appreciate it very much. Our governments contribute to EADS and Airbus with interest free loans which don't have to be paid back until a program makes money. So the sooner your government signs for the A330 tanker, the sooner my taxes get paid back! Besides, you Americans should be used to subsidizing our social net. Because you spend 10 times what we spend on our military, our tax dollars can go to free national healthcare, free college tuitions, government paid day-care, unemployment benefits that are 60-80% of our pay for up to 5 years, paid parental leave for up to 3 yrs after a child is born, well the list goes on. We're socialists, so we've grown to expect these benefits. Thank you American tax payers....

Posted by: Eurodude | August 24, 2008 3:04 AM just don't get it...

....GO READ THE GAO REPORT...and quit telling me how to spell....if i want to leave the o out of northrp...then i will...i have to go back to see if I really did that...if i did...sorry..

screw the VALUE has to do with fairness...once again..that is where I'm coming from...i don't care who has to do with the correct evaluation...GO READ THE GAO REPORT...

the Boeing is slightly cheaper is not the is just one more question as to how the northrop plane was cheaper...that is the question...and somehow by the time this GAO thing went through...all of a sudden the gov came back and admitted to that really gotta be a northp employee...

I never said a thing about northrop was putting our security at risk...but as I recall, northrop and the government said that about Boeing...even mccain said it...want the time and quote...i have it...i will get it and get back to you tomorrow..i think i might even have a recording of that one...

you just don't get it...

i NEVER said a thing about sending jobs overseas...never....where did you come up with that better go back and read what i really gotta be confusing me with someone else....

I NEVER said a thing about jobs either...all I said was a fair evaluation..

and yes, I said it was slanted...yes I said that is was against Boeing...READ THE GAO's just so hard getting through to bring up so many other things that I never even said..

wtf is wrong with you...

there is nothing wrong with asking for a fair amount of time to respond to a proposal...nothing at all...northrop had time...there is nothing arrogant with that

it really won't matter...I DON'T CARE...fairness does matter...

i'm done...

btw .... what is "aboout"....i don't know that isn't in my dictionary...


love ya....bob

you just don't get is wrong with you...

Posted by: Bob | August 24, 2008 3:17 AM


Can you help me out here on the reference to the F22???...I didn't know that Boeing sold F22's...i guess i'm really confused...after all the crap cap had for me, my head is spinning...

I thought that the F22 was a Lockheed plane...I could be wrong here...please correct me...



Posted by: Bob | August 24, 2008 3:23 AM

Posted by: Bob | August 24, 2008 3:23 AM

"I didn't know that Boeing sold F22's...i guess i'm really confused..."

Bob ... I am not David but I'll answer your question anyway.

The F22 is a joint Lockheed/Boeing/Pratt&W product. Lockheed provides the forward fuselage and integrates the systems ... Boeing builds wings.

Posted by: Fred S. | August 24, 2008 4:05 AM

Look everyone...Bob...Go to and you'll see a pretty little picture that breaks down who builds what. go under military, then under systems, then under current airplanes, for those who really want to know, the information is out there, you just need to do a little research

Posted by: Andrew | August 24, 2008 4:22 AM

Posted by: Sam | August 23, 2008 9:07 PM

"The 707 and 747 were leapfrog products, but as others of you have pointed out, Boeing hasn't done much good work in the last 20-30 years. Boeing is like the US auto companies of the 70s and 80s, building higer-priced, lower-quality products, and yelling "Buy American!""

Sam ... I hate to break it to you ... but Airbus/Northrup have both modeled their companies on copying Boeing.

As far as innovation and quality. Right now civil aviation is at the safest point ever in history. This is a testament to the quality the America is capable of ... you believe in America right?

And innovation ... Boeing built the Space Shuttle, the international space station, our missile defense system, the two engine 777 obsoleted the four engine A340, and the composite 787 is obsoleting the A330.

What was Airbus/Northrup's response? To copy Boeing with a half backed A350, and pork-project tanker.

Posted by: Fred S. | August 24, 2008 4:26 AM

I find it interesting how quick Boeing is to claim credit for a product it did not build; the KC-10. The only reason Boeing can even attach their name to this aircraft is because they bought McDonnell Douglas in 1997 10 years after the last tanker was produced. However they are very quick to point out in situations such as this passed weeks fatal accident of an MD-80 that they did not build it.

Posted by: Rick | August 24, 2008 5:06 AM

In answer to many replies saying the tanker bid only should only go to an American company even if the final product is inferior and more expensive than a competitor is baloney. Shouldn't out armed forces have the best equipment available - at the best price? I want my tax dollars spent in the wisest and most efficient manner possible. What many don't seem to realize is that most of the construction for the Airbus tanker will take plane in the US - in Alabama. What about all the jobs and investments that will disappear there if Boing is given a another sweetheart deal?

Posted by: Stevo | August 24, 2008 5:16 AM

Let me get this straight.

1) After the Boeing/Druyun fiasco, Air Force wants to replace tankers and now needs a competition with at least two bidders.
2) Air Force releases a "solicitation" (draft Request For Proposal) to the two only interested parties, Boeing and Northrop.
3) Boeing and Northrop check out the draft RFP.
3) Northrop takes a look and says that draft RFP in current form does not warrant them to develop a bid (not to be confused with "pulling out" since they have not yet agreed to participate.
4) Air Force amends RFP (to both Boeing and Northrop) to make it fair and to allow Northrop to participate in the bidding process.
5) Unlike most analysts, Northrop now thinks it has a real, albeit outside chance of winning.
Important to Note here: Air Force doesn't know what Northrop's bid will contain, therefore it's impossible for them to slant the RFP towards Northrop - right?
6) Boeing and Northrop agree in writing with final RFP and its fairness.
7) Both parties submit bids to the Air Force.
8) Air Force evaluates bids and, against all odds, Northrop wins the competition with a product offering more bangs for bucks.
8) Boeing is shocked - it never in their wildest dreams occurred to them that they could lose this one.
9) Boeing launches protest with the GAO, claiming that the rules were changed midway through the competition to unfairly favor Northrop. (this refers to the amendment the Air Force made to the draft RFP to allow Northrop to compete in the first place. Boeing delivered a bid and as such must have agreed to the final RFP wording. This is not midway through the competition but PRIOR to the competition).
10) GAO upholds 8 points in Boeing's protest and Air Force agrees to let the Pentagon deal with the problem.
11) Pentagon drafts clarifications to RFP relating to the 8 points of contention and allows competitors to submit revised bids addressing these 8 points only - i.e not a completely new competition.
12) Boeing, knowing now a lot more about Northrop's bid and why it won, threatens to not submit a revised bid (reported by the media wrongly as Boeing pulling out of the competition. They cannot pull out anymore since they are already in the midst of it - protest and all. All they can do is to fail amending their which case the Pentagon should evaluate the 8 points in the (revised) bids as submitted by the new deadline). Boeing still may win because costs are calculated over 40 years instead of 25.

Sounds all fair to me so far. It would however be extremely unfair to allow either competitor to enter an entirely new product whilst knowing that their original proposal has failed. This is then called a "Dutch Auction".

BTW, both competitors are American entries and have qualified to bid under the "Buy American" rules.

Posted by: Jerry | August 24, 2008 5:36 AM

To add to my previous post and to those who say the tanker bid should go to an American company at all costs and that tax payers dollars should not be spend overseas. Boeing already contracts out the construction of a huge number of its components overseas - from Japan to Italy, to name just two. Why isn't anyone gripping about these tax payer dollars?

Posted by: Stevo | August 24, 2008 5:44 AM

I wonder what my old friend is thinking about this. Why? Well, he started a high tech company in Silicon Valley back in the 70's. They made some specialized semiconductor fabricating equipment. Not the semiconductor, mind you, just one of the many, many tools needed to make them. He sold one to a country in Europe that in turn sold it to the Russians. he was not sufficiently diligent to insure the tool and its new technology did not end up in the wrong hands. He did 5 years in federal prison and the company closed its doors.
Now we have no problem transferring technology anywhwere it seems. No one is even the slightest bit concerned about the security clearances of the foreign country's employees. France has a major muslim population. Radical Islam is a major problem there. Does the Air Force worry about spying? About sabotage?
You can't just walk around a Boing plant. you need a badge and an escort. There are areas you aren't allowed in. Well how are they going to exercise any meaningful control in France. France, of all places. I'd feel better if the Germans had the contract.

Posted by: Stan G | August 24, 2008 6:29 AM

Would you buy a Ford Fiesta for the price of a BMW M1? So, don't blame the Air Force for not falling into Boeing's scam. NO airplane, rocket, and/or Satellite is 100% American because manufacturers have to get their parts from other countries. When was the last time we fought a war against France or England? You people sound ridiculous with your patriotic tone and I suggest you read the facts. If you're a true patriot let the Air Force buy the best plane (American or European) for the lowest price so no Airman/woman dies just because your patriotic American company used the cheapest fasteners made in China.

If we ever go to war against any of the countries that are associated with EADS you should worry more about their nuclear weapons and less about the little parts that make up the tankers.

Any PATRIOTIC brothers interested in buying from me a rare BMW that looks like a Ford Fiesta? ;)

Posted by: ME | August 24, 2008 6:52 AM

As a Boeing construction technician, I was always amazed that Boeing's commercial aircraft manufacturing technology was so clearly out-of-date. Entering their Renton and Everett, Washington plants seemed like trips back in time. It has been almost a decade since I worked for Boeing, so perhaps things have changed. But today, when I board a 747, 777 or 767, I tense up and say a little prayer. I know what's inside those walls, wings and tanks. It isn't reassuring. I can't speak to Boeing's aerospace divisions but it seems a good bet that there, too, profits loom above all else in the Boeing scheme of things. I think Boeing stopped hiring saints in the late 90's.

Posted by: Jerome Thomas | August 24, 2008 7:36 AM

Re=bid? What a flippin joke. Boeing lost people...period end of sentence. USA does not even have a steel making capability.

If we ever have a real war we are screwed!
So Boeing, make your bid. No more time for you. Take your medicine, you cry baby!

Posted by: Florenzo | August 24, 2008 7:59 AM

Gang, I have to agree with my Mobilian friends. The planes will be built here in AL by Americans. We have been watching this pretty close as it will bring many jobs to the area, helping us Americans.

And yes, Northrop Grumman is an American company.

Posted by: Uman from Mobile | August 24, 2008 8:46 AM

I agree that we should do everything possible to keep programs here in the USA. But look at how Boeing is using other resources now on their extremely late 787 Dreamliner project. Most of this craft is not even made here in the USA. I know this is a commercial plane - but BOEING is already playing the political games. Control the quality with US engineers but source labor from "less" developed countries. For many of you who are posting - please look into these stat's. they are astounding.
Boeing complained about the Titanium industry NOT keeping up with demand - now the titanium industry has put so much capacity online to prevent most of these delays with raw materials and Boeing still is LATE. I wonder what their excuses will be this year at the ITA (International Titanium Association) meeting?

Posted by: Arthur | August 24, 2008 8:51 AM

To "Efficiency First": Your question is so ridiculous it beggars intelligence. You have to be kidding, to even suggest it. America first, last and always. We may not be the cheapest, but we are THE BEST. It is a shame we have idiots like you asking idiotic questions and clouding reality. We need the jobs that our tax dollars fund. They generate more tax dollars. Go back to your keeper.

Posted by: Tom | August 24, 2008 9:17 AM

Why is the tail (Boeing) wagging the dog. (US Gov.)
It is time to cut the tail off.

Posted by: Peter | August 24, 2008 9:20 AM

Boeing "thinks" the Air Force is increasing is increasing the carrying load for the tankers? Is this a joke? It "THINKS"? How hard could this be to figure out. Pick up the phone and call the guy in charge how much fuel do you want this thing to carry? Geez Loueez!! Somehow; I'm sure, this is a stalling tactic designed to suck up more of our tax dollars. Money for nothing. You would think something as important as the continued existence of The United States of America would generate better communication between the people makings critical decisions about our security.

Posted by: Floyd County | August 24, 2008 9:26 AM

Northrop Grumen is an American company. Northrup grumen has many USAF contracts. Boeing only assembles planes in the US, 95 percent of Boeing's planes are manufactured out of the US in THIRD WORLD COUNTRIES. In addition why shouldn't we learn the European technology and know how.
My name is Kamran and I approve this message :)

Posted by: Kamran | August 24, 2008 9:35 AM


Think about what you wrote the next time you go to Sam's Club or Walmart when the local market is 10% more expensive.

Posted by: sarasotab | August 24, 2008 9:37 AM

You want a refueler? You got Helo's? Put it out to bid for a couple of years? Nope!Don Eastman & Dick Wright at Wright Patt take a C130 stick a fuel bladder in the cargo bay and drop a hose out the cargo door. KC130 is on the job. Navy pilots keep it simple and prefer drogues. Suggested reading: "BOYD" by Robert Coram

Posted by: Joel Rossetti | August 24, 2008 9:38 AM

I see a lot of misinformation here mixed in with some good information. That the AF issued the original RFP and changed it to accomodate EADS' inability to build to the RFP specs is a fact. Still, every one of you is missing the point that I have the most trouble with:

EADS has NEVER successfully built an aircraft that can refuel in flight. Never. They have never put an aircraft in the air and transferred fuel to another. NEVER. When you look at their history with their aircraft, the errors and mistakes, the deaths of passengers, who in their wildest dreams wants to gamble on their ability to get this most-dangerous process down from the get-go? Boeing's been producing refueling aircraft, successfully, for decades. Now, if that's your kid in the cockpit or on the flight crew, do you wish to gamble his or her life, not to mention our tax dollars, on EADS promises to be able to build an aircraft that can successfully refuel another in-flight? When they have never ever done this, nor can they show the AF that they can actually do it other than on paper, nor will they show the AF that they can do it on other than paper until they get the contract, and hence, the money? Sorry. No. Boeing should have more time--if it's my kid on that plane, Boeing is the only choice.

Posted by: M.L. Bushman | August 24, 2008 10:04 AM

In the first tanker issue, Boeing simply provided a retirement job for a DOD employee. That employee was probably holding Boeing up. Boeing paid a high price in penalities and loss of high executives including the CEO. Now, what price did the DOD pay? They started this fiasco and paid nothing. Some will say they lost critical time in a much needed tanker. I don't see this as such as a big deal as hyped. After all, the B-52's are still flying and have been around longer than the KC-135. The KC-135's can still do the mission and be maintained as long as needed.

Posted by: Robert | August 24, 2008 10:07 AM

We know that the Air Force changed the bid criteria after originally setting them, in order to give Airbus an advantage. It seems reasonable, therefore, for Boeing to request more time to bid the larger plane that the Air Force now wants.

The reality is that our goverenment needs Boeing more than Boeing needs our government. Boeing gets the vast bulk of its revenue from selling commercial planes all around the world; they could jettison their defense work, probably to the advantage of the company.

Furthermore, Boeing provides the United States with a hugely positive trade balance for their products by selling their commercial planes all over the world.

Posted by: Gene | August 24, 2008 10:08 AM

Too bad Boeing, when they bought McDonald Douglas, destroyed the tools and dies for the MD-11. The MD-11 is the bigger brother to the MD-10. The USAF currently uses the MD-10 as the KC-10 Extender. If the MD-11 were in production, I don't think the bidding would go to Airbus.
After Boeing bought the company, the 36 MD-11's went into longterm storage in the desert and were eventually bought by UPS and FEDEX as their heavy haulers.

Posted by: Ezra | August 24, 2008 10:11 AM

steve, as far as "long term" goes, i imagine we will be using tankers for a very long time. "alternative energy" is a *long* ways off for military application. we can't even get it to work properly in consumer cars. barring some serious breakthroughs, our airforce will need tankers for the next 30 years at least.

Posted by: STECE | August 24, 2008 10:26 AM

Boeing makes ugly airplanes. And I like the name AirBus better, so I don't think Boeing should get the deal.

Posted by: Kelly | August 24, 2008 10:29 AM

Actually, given that A300 first came out in 1972, Jeep Wagoneer is probably a better anaology for it's successor the A330. Ford Fiesta may work for the 767 given that it is 24% more fuel efficient than the A330. So if a Jeep Wagoneer is what is needed go ahead. Hey, we are talking about flying tubes with wings here, neither of these planes can be considered sexy or high performance. It is all about delivering fuel to sexy high performance planes. All Boeings supporters are argueing is a Ford Fiesta is better for the mission than some fuel guzzling cluky Jeep Wagoner. If you want sexy you'll need to wait for Boeing 787s a few years down the road.

Posted by: John | August 24, 2008 10:33 AM

Has anyone seen a tape of President Eisenhower's farwell speech from the White House?

He coined the term "Military Industrial Complex". Refering to the revolving door between Military Contractors and the Elected and Appointed Officials who are supposed to oversee them.

Boeing doesn't give a rats ass about national security. Boeing doesn't care about outsourcing to other countries. Boeing doesn't even care about national defence.

Boeing cares about quarterly profits. Period.

They make BIG expensive stuff that is supposed to sit in a closet till it's needed. Some of it is pretty fantastic. Much of it is unnessesary and wastefully constructed. They come up with systems that are exotic, can blow the crap out of anything else that flies and are VERY expensive. These systems are designed to replace other machines that are exotic, can blow the crap out of anything that flies and were VERY expensive.

We've got B-52s that are still flying after 50 years. I say we refurbish what we've already got. I see no reason why we can't use new C-130s instead of building somthing new.

We spend more money on war and weapons than Russia, China, and ALL of Western Europe combined. It hasn't purchased any large degree of security as far as I can see. It's no longer the cold war. The threat is different now.

We've demonstrated that with current technology we can kick the crap out of anyone on the planet. Too bad our diplomats and leaders don't have a clue.

And after the Tanker contracts are settled, what's next? $500,000,000 Billion dollars a year, not counting the cost of continuing military operations. Does ANYONE have a clue as to how much money that is, and how it's going to waste?

They told us health care was too expensive. It wasn't too expensive to go blow the crap out of two other countries! It's too expensive to overhaul out educational system. It's not too expensive to enrich further a bunch of rich guys in Texas.

In WW II there were laws that punished companies for war profiteering. During WW II there were special taxes to pay for it all.

If you want a new tanker system, I suggest we find a way to have a special tax on all americans to pay for it.

I find it Ironic that a conservitive Republican Administration has mortgaged our country to Communist Chinese Banks and expanded our governments size at a rate higher than the New Deal.

Didn't Bush say in his campaign in 2000 that we can't be the worlds police force? Yep he did. And his buddies get richer, while our paychecks get stagnate.

Posted by: John Luker | August 24, 2008 10:39 AM

Apparently the USAF wants bigger tankers. They blankly stated that is why the EADS team won. It was unfair of the USAF to not state this in advance. Boeing has larger planes than the 767 they submitted.

I see it as entirely reasonable for Boeing to have time to offer a bid on a bigger plane. They already know they'll lose if they offer the 767 again. I think some people here do not understand the engineering problems of turning a plane into a tanker. It takes time! This way the USAF will have two equally sized planes with equal capabilities to compare.. not apples and oranges.

Posted by: Ryan | August 24, 2008 11:15 AM

No company that uses foreign anything should not be permmited to bid on anything related to our milatary equipment !! It must be 100% Made and maufactured in the United states!.

Boeing is the only one that qualifies!

Posted by: GHM | August 24, 2008 11:18 AM

Joe wrote: An American company should get this contract, period. We should never have a foreign country build anything as important to us as military aircraft....."

I strongly disagree. The AF had a plane in mind to support this particular mission and Boeing came up short in terms of capability and was WAY over budget. I do work for a military contractor and Boeing does have this "God Given" right mentality when it comes to being the Prime contractor. To me, Joe sounds like a union Boeing machinist who realized that the Pentagon is actually thinking long term for a change

Posted by: Ray | August 24, 2008 11:29 AM

Wrong GHM.... Boeing's submission involves a good percentage of its prototype would be manufacturered overseas. For example, parts of the wing and fuselage carbon fiber components would be manufacturered in Japan. Do your research!

Boeing lost and is far from qualified anyway.

Posted by: Gene | August 24, 2008 11:30 AM

BTW, if Boeing does such a fantastic job I suggest everyone look at the JTRS program that they have managed. Here is an article on findings of this program from the GAO.

The Pentagon is under pressure to get the best equipment for the lowest cost from its contractors. PERIOD. We are at war, our country is billions of dollars in debt, and funds are limited. If Boeing can't execute a program on time and on budget, then they SHOULD NOT get the business. PERIOD

Posted by: Ray | August 24, 2008 11:37 AM

I think we ought to outsource our whole military to China where Walmart and the rest of America buy all of our fine products.

Posted by: keith henline | August 24, 2008 11:43 AM

Americans, are you learning Chinese? We are coming and we are gonna whup your little whinny derrieres.

Posted by: Xiang | August 24, 2008 11:52 AM

Lets take a lesson from the 6 day war between Israel and it's Arab neighbors. Israel paid France for several jet fighters. During and after the war France refused to deliver the fighters and decided to steel Israel monies used to pay for them. Israel had to send an under cover team to steel the planes, which they paid for. Is this the kind of mentality we have within the pentagon who awards contracts. They should learn from history and give boing a chance to compete on a proper playing field.

Posted by: Ralph | August 24, 2008 11:52 AM

Speaking of the tail that wags the dog..its funny that noone has mentioned the Boeing P8 contract with the US NAvy. Boeing is building modified 737s to serve as off-shore patrol aircraft. Guess where the tail section of ALL 737s are built? Wichita? Renton? Nope! Xian,China! By the Xian Aircraft Company! That's right... your US workers were not good enough,according to Boeing, for them to build the critical vertical fin and other tail pieces for the NAVY P8! Made in China, the new home of the brave and land of the free, all at $1.60 an hour.

Posted by: mikey | August 24, 2008 12:01 PM

It seemed obvious that for support of the US airforce the government would order a US-manufactured plane; but the airforce lately likes to use other options and let the foreigners suck out tax money as they run out of their own (another example the 'Texan' Pilatus PC-9 trainer). Different doesn't necessary mean better and cheaper may become expensive in the long run!

Posted by: Tomasz | August 24, 2008 12:21 PM

An International based company plans to build planes in Alabama,giving the people of Alabama an orportunity to better themselves and their familys. The bid goes in and Airbus gets it. Alabama has 4 automobile plants, a huge steelmill, and a work force that is willing to earn a fair wage. The state of Alabama has made it very attractive for manufacturers to locate here. Boeing has a history of making safe dependable planes. I do not understand why they would object to the people of Alabama getting a fair deal.We have given the land and tax breaks to Airbus to draw much needed jobs to this growing area.

Posted by: James D | August 24, 2008 12:39 PM

Bob: Wow... You asked me plainly how I thought BOEING was arrogant, anf I gave you examples. Many examples. I never said you said and did those things. Boeing did! I was answering your questions! Go back and read it again, and tell me where in there that I accused YOU of any of that? Like I really think that it was YOU that put out a full-page ad in the newspaper? Is that the only way you can defend Boeing's actions? With a personal attack?

Posted by: Cap | August 24, 2008 12:41 PM

1. European Airlines buy both Airbus and Boeing planes, Air france has a very large fleet of Boeing planes.
2. This 'delay' Boeing want is completely unjustified technically, pure politics.
3. A large part of these planes 'made' by EADS would be made in USA with USA labor.

4. Boeing did not just 'cheat' last time; they corrupted the process with the approval of all top management. It was worthy of a South American Cocaine Cartel. If EADS worked like that, there would not be a single Boeing plane in the European skies, and there's a ton of them.
5. The Air Force chose the plane they wanted based on best bid in both price and product.

C'mon America, Join the World!

Posted by: jean louis lonne | August 24, 2008 12:44 PM

Can you imagine the French approving a US company to build their army tanks? Not going to happen. They are simply relying on America's gleeful 'sellout' or everything that isn't welded to the ground.
Posted by: LeepingLizards | August 23, 2008 10:18 AM "

and thats why the French are stuck with a large number of 2cd rate military pieces,

"Arge tis better to home grow 3rd rate gear then to buy good gear from a friend, harden up teh boys it will"

As a vet I can say I dont give a damn who makes what as long as I have what it takes to win a war perferabley with out me or my mates getting killed

Posted by: eron | August 24, 2008 1:00 PM

Boeing's expectation of more time is directly with in with the GAO decision. The GAO held that the prior Air Force decision awarding the contract to EADS failed to follow the Bid Request specifications. That's why Boeing didn't win the bid. Now, instead of re-bidding the original request, the Air Force has modified the Bid Request so that it more closely matches the EADS submission. It is only fair that Boeing be given more time to adjust its proposal to the new bid specifications.

Posted by: Dan Boehnen | August 24, 2008 1:08 PM

this is great. If anyone knows how to program out there, a 'stupid filter' for these forums will make you a fortune! I especially like the comments about France! My brother lives in USA, I live in France. Unfortunately, I will prefer to live in France until there is a big change in American Culture, and part of the problem is to ignore reality. Go Obama!!

Posted by: jean louis lonne | August 24, 2008 1:12 PM

Does anyone know if yhe competition on prices considered out currency flutation? Those damn Europeans' government helped to finance the stupid Airbus to begin with. We try to help them to pay the bill? It has nothing to do with protectionism nor Asia nor India, it is about fairness to American companies. We have stupid unions. When I worked at Boeing, I couldnt more anything on the shop floor without their assigned job classification. Whoever heard of an engineer union (They call this employee association) They strike, have contract and is a bonafide union. Look at our steel, auto, airline and all union industries. We lost our competitivness due to our labor protection, yet everyone say we love America, but unwilling to solve the root of the problem. I would say Boeing should be given more time to switch to the 777, kick the union to renegotiate for lower wage and be competitive again. If we have solution, why send the job to Europe, why should we allow Northrop act as an agent?

Posted by: Logical Thinker | August 24, 2008 1:26 PM

Giving a military contract to American company is alright, however, Boeing is not the only American company here. The opposite team has Northrop Grumman (which is American) along with EADS. Also, Boeing winning the bid doesn't mean they do everything here in USA. Sub-contractors for Boeing are all around the world.

Posted by: Srinivas | August 24, 2008 1:48 PM

The amount of misinformation being splurged in this blog by the Airbus/Northrup cheerleaders is ridiculous.

1) The majority of components (by value) used on a Boeing plane are American. I dare you to find a source that states otherwise.

2) The airframe will be produced in the US. Hate to brake to my friends in Alabama but the air frame for the a330 will be flown in from France.

3) You claim the Airbus European technology is better, yet in the same breath claim that this plane will be made in the US. Hate to break it to you monkey's but both companies use the same components from the same suppliers. It may shock you that a Unionized US company is world leader ... but it is.

4)This is all about Alabama / Southern power? SEC football right? Well even if the deal goes to Airbus/Northrup ... Boeing will still be a larger employer of Aerospace workers in the state of Alabama. Are you guys insinuating that Boeing jobs are no longer wanted in Huntsville?

5) Somehow the A330 is new technology ... this is rubbish. Both the 767 and the A330 are last generation airframes (being replaced the the 787 and the A350). Without this contract either production line will be shut down.

6) All Boeing is asking for is the appropriate amount of time to submit a bid for what the air force says it wants?

Why rush a $30 billion dollar project?

What is four more month to an airplane that will be in-service for 30 years?

The American taxpayer deserves a fair and open competition. Not a Southern pork project.

Posted by: Fred S. | August 24, 2008 2:06 PM

It simply does not make sense to buy foreign military equipment from a country that does not always support the United States. It does not make sense to spend billions of dollars on foreign goods. We need to keep the money and the jobs here in the United States. By the way, the KC-135 will never have a metal fatigue problem. Yes, because of its age it does have a lot of maintenance, but why spend money on foreign equipment that cannot be supported in war. It is a wartime aircraft. Keep it here. If Boeing is the only US manufacturer that can build a tanker and its parts here, then we should have done something years ago to keep more US manufacturers in the business and not allowed Boeing to have a monopoly here in the US. Anyone count the French troops supporting us? I remember in 1973 when the French would not let us even overfly their country supporting Israel. I remember when we bombed Libya and the French would not allow us to overfly their country. I do not trust them to supply parts forever.

Posted by: -Al | August 24, 2008 2:21 PM

Fundamental needs and fundamental principles, like a robust national defense and a free market economy, can be difficult to achieve at the same time. When these difficult things are described by the passionate to the nearly illiterate, writers weave a complex tapestry of parochialism and arrogance, all woven in corkscrew English.

I suppose the things we can agree on are that we need a new tanker fleet quickly, that we need a fair procurement process, and that true freedom includes free markets.

Didn't Franklin say that those who would surrender a little liberty (a free market) to ensure a little security (a new tanker) deserve neither? QED.

Posted by: harry | August 24, 2008 2:23 PM

Here is a little update for the nationalist "dont let someone in another country make it..." people. There is this thing called globalization. It means that parts get made in other countries. Virtually all products, including a beer have products from other countries. And just so we are all on the same page, Northrup Grumman is an AMERICAN company. The base for the plane is made in FRANCE AND GERMANY two very close allies which seem likely to remain our friends. In any case more of the NG EADS involves American production, Boeing outsources most of the production. And Joe at the top, if you didn't buy all the cheapest products from Wal-mart there would still be manufacturing done here, production is driven by consumers, if you want American made products be prepared to pay more otherwise, you are the responsible party. One last thing, I'm pretty sure when I was talking to one of the managers at Textron he told me they make the presidents helicopter over at Bell.

Posted by: Paul | August 24, 2008 2:39 PM

For all those who think that the NG/EADS tanker will be built in Alabama, you are wrong. The NG/EADS tanker will be built in Europe and flown to the US to be "militarized" in Mobile, Alabama. Please read the submission by NG/EADS.

Posted by: ThinkAgain | August 24, 2008 2:43 PM

the politicians 'on the take' that didn't say anythign when Boeing took over McDonnel Douglas are to blame too. How do you expect competition when you let bullies run the country and its politicians.


An American company should get this contract, period. We should never have a foreign country build anything as important to us as military aircraft. They know everything about the aircraft and hold all the cards should we ever have to go to war with them. Besides we need the jobs at Boeing and every other company who supports them with material and parts. Bring all manuf. jobs back to America even if it costs morel

Posted by: Eric | August 24, 2008 2:47 PM

I was involved in DOD procurement years ago. We didn't know what we were doing then. I guess we still don't. Politics always ruled the roost in the old days. Obviously, it still does. At least, reference the current tanker mess, some heads rolled. In my day they would have been promoted after screwing things up.

Posted by: Garry | August 24, 2008 2:49 PM

Do you like high taxes? If you like that then it's OK to keep giving Boeing contracts and doing business it as usual. Boeing is crooked. You have to do something to stop bottomless pit of military expenses. We pay the bills after all. Does spending a few extra billions for a few thousand jobs make sense? Hell no.

Posted by: mmotie | August 24, 2008 2:49 PM

Airbus sends work to the US in the amount of 13 Billion per year, of dollar spend, and Boeing send work to Asia, you should understand the facts. Airbus is increasing the US spend and the amount of 1 billion a year, and Boeing is sending more and more work over to Asia- lets get smart

Posted by: Walt | August 24, 2008 2:50 PM

It would be dumb to build the plane anywhere else but in the USA. Europe and Airbus is the only alternative and if you do that you will be subject to European labor and competition laws. If you want to know what that entails, go ask Microsoft. They have a good product but if they do not share their trade secrets with others they will be classed as a monopoly and fined by Europe. Your plane would be a nightmare for the pentagon if build in Europe.

Posted by: Opa2 | August 24, 2008 2:51 PM

As a german im frustrated with these comments like "what will we do in a war when they deny to deliver us parts". "They" is France and Germany as EADS is a majorily German French Company with equal share, and "THEY" have been allies for 60 years and "THEY" have agreed to create jobs for this plane with Northtrup in the USA and "THEY" are your freackin brothers not some potential enemy. Forget who helped you get to the moon ? You know how many parts are from Germany in the F22 or the Mars Rover? Dudes wake up, weve been building things together for decades. You need us and we need you.

Posted by: Swen | August 24, 2008 3:01 PM

Opa2, Microsoft makes crap products which anyone with a little knowledge can tell you. And since you clearly weren't around in the 90's Microsoft got where it is today through uncompetitive practices which it has never had to make amends for, look at what they did to Netscape.

Posted by: Paul | August 24, 2008 3:03 PM

Re to: mmotie | August 24, 2008 2:49 PM

"Do you like high taxes?"

On a cost to cost basis the Boeing plane is cheaper according to the GAO.

"Boeing is crooked."

Northrup are the slime bag crooks. Look at what they just did to our Coast Guard in the "Deepwater" recapitalization project. They messed it up so bad the Government is sueing to get it's money back.

"You have to do something to stop bottomless pit of military expenses."

Giving Boeing the right amount of time to submit a bid for what the air force wants would be a good start.

Posted by: Bozeman | August 24, 2008 3:06 PM

Re to: Walt | August 24, 2008 2:50 PM

"Airbus is increasing the US spend and the amount of 1 billion a year, and Boeing is sending more and more work over to Asia- lets get smart"

Last I checked Airbus just opened an assembly line in China!! You're right ... lets get smart.

Posted by: Bozeman | August 24, 2008 3:09 PM

"Anyone count the French troops supporting us?"

10 French soldiers just died in Afghanistan. The Germans are the new wimps of Europe.

Posted by: Fred S. | August 24, 2008 3:14 PM

Let's look at Fred S.'s comments point by point:
1) I can offer a link that shows where all of Northrop's US parts will be made.... but since you are the one making this claim, I believe it is up to you to back it up with your source.
2) This is common knowledge; what point are you making here?
3)The suppliers aren't exactly the same, but no matter. No one is arguing that Boeing isn't a world leader. Northrop is, too. Again, what is your point?
4)Who said anything about "southern power?" What difference does it make who is bigger? This isn't the schoolyard.
5) The last 5 international competitions have been won by the A330. It is going to be in production for a long time. Boeing's plane, however, has one foot in the grave.
6) Boeing had the exact same amount of time NG did. NG had the foresight to get it right. Remember, at the core of this are two companies trying to win a contract. Why should NG give extra time to Boeing so they can try to mimic what NG has already offered? What is in it for NG?

Posted by: Cap | August 24, 2008 3:26 PM

the next time you fly on a 737, take a good look at the tail. All of it. Made in China.
Xian, china. They will be making the tail for the US Navy's P8, too.... Not in the US.
China. An important patrol aircraft, for the US navy, with a huge chunk of it made in Communist China, where you will be beaten and expelled if you try to share a Bible with someone.

Posted by: mikey | August 24, 2008 3:54 PM

Thanks to least I think it was Andrew for setting me right on the Lockheed F22 which now has a team of them, Boeing & P&W...???....I really didn't know that....and for all this time I kept thinking it was a Lockheed design as they are the prime contractor...

Anyway...back to the tanker discussion...has anyone ever tried to find out how Northrop G /EADS can come up with a brand new assembly factory and still be so close in cost to an in- production aircraft in Seattle production facility....

now...EADS builds the sections...ships them to the facility...sometime in the future when the facility is built....NG assembles the assemblies and stuff in the goodies that make it some sort of tanker the Air Force wants...

and this is cheaper...or supposedly around the same costs as the 767....

has anyone ever seen what it takes to start up an assembly line for an aircraft..???...I have not, but this just seems to be a rather expensive thing to do...

The more I think about this, the more I think there is really something fishy going on here...maybe someone out there can help me out with this one too....


Posted by: Bob | August 24, 2008 4:02 PM

Boeing was sending more jobs overseas on their offer then Northrop-Grumman was proposing. The Democrats wanted to give Boeing another crack to get votes in the northern red states. Northrop-Grumman’s proposal offered more jobs in the south were the smug Democrats figure they have the votes already secured.

Posted by: Russell | August 24, 2008 4:22 PM

Reading through some of these last comments it's apparent that none of you have ever been involved in this type of process and you are just absorbing the emotions this journalist wants you to feel.

The original RFP did not specify the quantity of fuel required to carry. Boeing lost the last bidding because NGEADS supplied a larger plane. Now the AF has justified this mistake by making it a requirement, and Boeing's KC767 does not fit the requirements of the revised RFP. They need 6 months to design a KC-777. The media wants you to think that Boeing is pouting. If the AF does not take Boeing's KC-767, this is going to cost the taxpayers more than the FNM FAE bailout. Over 150 airstrips around the world will need to be expanded at a cost which has not yet been estimated. But don't take it from a retired air force pilot, go ahead and read the washington post and get mad.

Posted by: AFRetired | August 24, 2008 7:16 PM

"Boeing was sending more jobs overseas on their offer then Northrop-Grumman was proposing."

Russell, do the math, by dollar value the KC-767 is 85% US content, Northrop used to report the KC-30 as 59% US content by dollar value, that is before they starting spouting nonsense like 48,000 US jobs created (I guess their counting the janitor and the guy who stocks the coke machine for this one). In other words using the standard dollars x percent US content formula to calculate jobs created the KC-30 would need to cost 45% more than the KC-767 to generate the same number of US jobs. Oh, and that's not even counting the fact that the real labor intensive metal bending and fabrication work is done in Europe for the KC-30, unlike the KC-767 where all of the metal bending and riveting is done in Seattle. The KC-30 will only generate more jobs in Alabama than the KC-767 and it seems that for some KC-30 supporters that's where the US national border stops.

Posted by: John | August 24, 2008 8:07 PM

Let's reply to Cap's misinformation "point by point"

1) Really? You can show a link where Northrup actually manufactures aerospace components? That is a good one ... call Northrup what it is ... a politically connected defense Hedge Fund that left the manufacturing business long ago. Now it is a "systems integrator"

2) "This is common knowledge; what point are you making here?" The Boeing air frame will be produced and assembled in the US. The Airbus airframe will be produced and assembled in Europe. Just so it is clear on where our dollars are going.

3)"The suppliers aren't exactly the same"

In what way ... and how do you know? Do a break down of the the A350 and the 787, or the 737 and A320 and you'll find common suppliers for everything from the power plant to the systems and landing gear. My point is that claiming one's technology is better then the others is a joke ...

4)"Who said anything about "southern power?" "

Go back through the thread and read some of the comments from you pro-Alabama compatriots.

5) "The last 5 international competitions have been won by the A330."

In commercial competition the 787 is cleaned the A330's tax subsidized clock. That is why Airbus is designing the A350. Both the A330 and the 767 have one foot in the grave ... the only difference is that the 767 has been around long enough to pay back a profit.

6) "Boeing had the exact same amount of time NG did. NG had the foresight to get it right."

If it was that simple then the NGO would not have pushed the Pentagon to rebid. Boeing original design was submitted to meet the original requirements ... those requirements changed.

"Why should NG give extra time to Boeing so they can try to mimic what NG has already offered? What is in it for NG?"

Nothing is in it for Airbus/Northrup. However, it is not about NG or Boeing ... it is about our fighting force and our tax dollars. You see ... it is not legal to award a contract for attributes (size, etc) that were not originally stipulated in the RFP ... hence the rebid.

Now that the Air Force has outlined new requirements it is only right to give Boeing a reasonable amount of time to give the Air Force what it needs.

In the end is NG looses ... so be it ... they will have lost to a better plane. The reverse is true.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 24, 2008 9:06 PM

Re to: mikey | August 24, 2008 3:54 PM

"the next time you fly on a 737, take a good look at the tail. All of it. Made in China."

Mikey ... your a liar. Only a small part of the 737 tail is made in China. Much more of it is made in the US ... and even Ireland.

Is this what Northrup does ... get people to misinform and lie?

Posted by: Fred. S | August 24, 2008 9:14 PM

The rats in the sinking Bush Whitehouse are running to secure all they can. Why does the decision have to come under the current corrupt group headed by Bush. Why is the head officer at Grumman named Bush?

Posted by: Bill | August 24, 2008 10:24 PM

Anonymous: To rebut YOUR "misinformation":
1) I'm still waiting for you to provide back-up to your original claim; I must be waiting because you can't.
2) It is still common knowledge, with you providing no point to it.
3) The idea that the same parts always equals the same technology is the joke.
4) I did look: there aren't any there, except maybe yours. Why don't you point them out?
5) Whether that is true or not is debatable, but it doesn't change the facts that the A330 is the desired choice in the last 5 competitions.
6) The requirements did not change. Boeing can repeat that over and over but it is simply not true. If it was true, then there would be an entire new competition instead of the revised RFP that will be issued this week.
"However, it is not about NG or Boeing ... it is about our fighting force and our tax dollars." Wrong again, it is about both. NG and Boeing are not doing charity work here; these are world class businesses vying for a large contract, and who have to answer to their stockholders. That is precisely why Boeing does not deserve more time.

Posted by: Cap | August 25, 2008 9:13 AM

Some aspects should be taken into consideration:
- the US public budget is mostly financed by foreign investors. It means that you guys spend what you earn from others, and this should influence somehow how decisions are taken. For example, if foreign investors (Asian, Arabs, Russian...) develop the perception that the US budget is unwise and risky, than dollar-based investments will go down, and as a result people will continue to get poorer and poorer.
- The US army has had huge budgets for decades, regardless of its efficiency and effectiveness. The next decade will ask for a better investment productivity and allocation of intelligence, only to make it possible to maintain alive the concept of a US super power. Mechanically, the increasing prices of oil and other primary goods will decrease the margins of manoeuvers of the US military forces, precisely at a time where international conflicts will develop... That's called a squeeze...
- corporate control is not only granted by shareholdership, but also by a significant market share. Chinese people have understood this for some years now, and this has enabled them to gain time in acquiring new technologies...

The US are maybe starting to deal with the same issue some European countries have experienced after WWI. The ability of former super powers to decide and conduct policies based only on pure domestic concerns has been quickly cancelled, and it has taken some time to go for more complex cooperative policies, and the creation of new political objects such as the EU. Several generations of people have been required to adjust to that idea.

Posted by: European | August 25, 2008 10:33 AM

Guys the first off the company bidding is Northrop Grumman, they are buying a design the A330 that will be assembled in the United States not France. More over Europe and the French already buy billions in U.S. defense articles. Boeing knew what the customer wanted, it was a modern version of the KC-10 which McDonnel Douglas built after beating Boeing in the 80's. Not more KC-135s. There are several times more U.S. jobs created with teh Northorp Grumman product than the Boeing product. By the way the 767 is built largely in Japan, China, Romania, and other countries. The engines and avionic are predominantly US as are the A330. The difference is Boeing who has wrecked MacDac's defense business and is late and over budget on the C-130 AMP, The Austrailian Wedgetail, Itailian KC-767, Japanese KC-767 wants to get well on U.S. Air Force dollars. The Northrop Grumman plane is flying and transfering fuel, the Boeing plans are not yet capable. Boeing hasn't delivered a weapon system on cost or meeting requirments in the last 3 years. Want to talk about a simple border fence, way over budget and not operational.

Posted by: Arthur | August 25, 2008 10:43 AM

Why does Boeing need additional time to submit a bid? Don't they have data from all the tankers they've already made (old and new)?

Posted by: sgecht | August 25, 2008 2:00 PM


Wrong, Northrop is not needed to build the KC-30. All critical technologies are built by EADS: the aircraft, the refueling boom, the refueling system, etc. If Northrop is so important to the KC-30 how come EADS is delievering KC-30's to Austrailia and Britain without Northrop's help before they'll ever be delivered to the USAF if Northrop wins the contract. Could it be that Northrop is just the markerting agent for the airplane. This would be the most reasonable explaination (actually the only explaination). The fact is simple EADS doesn't need Northrop to build the KC-30, ergo their only real role is marketing. Also, only some parts of the KC-767 are built overseas. The KC-767 has 85% US content vs 59% US content by dollar than the KC-30. I don't know where you went to school but in most textbooks 85% is more than 59%. Northrop is a once great company that can now be considered little more than fraud, that's willing to sell it's lobbying power and marketing to the highest bidder, who next will Northrop sell itself to Mig, Sukhoi, the Chinese.

Posted by: John | August 26, 2008 12:07 AM

Cap, you sure are wrong a lot.

When you told anonymous the requirements didn't change you obviously haven't read the before and after RFP's. The change from not giving extra credit for a larger fuel off and cargo load capability to one that encourages such is clearly a CHANGE in the requirements.

You need to measure twice (or more) before you cut!

Posted by: Captain Tom | August 26, 2008 11:39 AM

Captain Tom: Wrong again! Giving extra credit for something is not a "requirement". Read a dictionary!

Posted by: Cap | August 26, 2008 12:38 PM

Posted by: EfficiencyFirst | August 23, 2008 8:52 AM
"Why should my tax dollars be given to you instead of a cheaper person of equal competence in another country?"

If you don't know the answer to that question I would suggest that you be outsourced.

Posted by: AmericaFirst | August 26, 2008 3:29 PM

Cap. the dictionary defines change: to become or make different.

The original RFP said that no extra credit will be given for whatever. That affects the evaluation criteria! The revised RFP says the opposite, i.e., extra credit will be given for whatever. That my friend is a CHANGE in the RFP criteria, and that's a fact Jack.

Cap, You must enjoy being wrong because you are so often.

Posted by: Capyain Tom | August 26, 2008 6:06 PM

Don't get to up in arms over Cap ...

That is how a marketing hedge fund like Northrup works ... they spread misinformation, and lobby politicians. To bad they quite the engineering business, NG has built some fine stuff back in the day.

Posted by: Fred S. | August 26, 2008 9:53 PM

Captain Tom: Of course the RFP has changed, to reflect the 8 points that the GAO found fault with. What hasn't changed are the requirements, which you said did change. Just more of the Boeing "big lie" strategy: repeat the same lies over and over until people believe it is true. Once again, giving extra credit for something is not now, nor will it ever be, a requirement. That is why it is "extra credit". Extra credit is optional. If it is optional, it cannot be a requirement. You are wrong. Again.

Posted by: Cap | August 27, 2008 5:27 PM

I think it would be a smart idea for boeing to get out now. Their 787 dreamliner, as some have already mentioned, is behind and they need to stop worrying about this bid. It was obvious from the beginning... the AF doesn't want a plane from boeing and it really shows with the new bid because boeing has to nearly build a brand new plane to meet it.
The AF is just pissed that boeing called them out for rewarding EADS/Northop incorrectly with the bid before this one and got the AF in trouble for it, and now the AF is making a bid nearly immpossible for boeing to meet with the time alotted.

I vote boeing but it won't happen anymore.

Posted by: Jordan | August 27, 2008 8:26 PM


Notwithstanding Fred S.'s admonition regarding Northrup's modus operandi, if you don't understand that "no credit will be given" to "credit will be given" is a fundamental change in the RFP evaluation criteria and has nothing to do with optional and can have a significant effect on the appropriate platform selected for bid, then you simply lack an understanding of the RFP details, the tanker concept, and I suspect the English language.

Cap, a reasonable person could conclude after reading your several responses that you may not be playing with a full deck.

Have a nice day.

Posted by: Captain Tom | August 27, 2008 9:31 PM


It looks like DoD/Dept of the Air Force/Contracting Office @ Andrews AFB has thrown the (DFAR) Defense Federal Acquisition Regulations, out the window.

Even within Federal Civilian Agencies (under FAR) - contracting guidelines, agencies are prohibited from outsourcing contracts to foreign entities or allowing foreign (non-citizens, without green cards) to perform work on U.S. contracts. However, Resident Aliens w/green cards (those seeking U.S. citizenship are allowed to work on Federal Contracts). Why couldn't Northrup Grumman form an alliance with Boeing, or Lockheed Martin,etc; large U.S. military contractors to bid on this military tanker contract? Such arrogance!!! This contract personifies the "Large Military/Industrial Complex" influence (on Congress, that is)that President David Eisenhower warned against long ago!!! Why should a U.S. National Security-related Contract go to a corporation in France!!! Fair-weather friends, at best, for goodness sake!!!



Posted by: EternalOptimist | August 28, 2008 4:25 PM

"Why should my tax dollars be given to you instead of a cheaper person of equal competence in another country?"

Well, that's the problem with the entire process. The Air Force did not select the cheaper bid and it's not evaluating the contract based on which is cheaper. While we don't know the prices offered, the air force even admitted prior to GAO review that Boeing's bid was lower than the KC-30. This was before the GAO attached the Air Force for improperly scoring Boeing's bid. And that's not even including the addition $30-40 billion over 40 years the KC-30 will burn, the milcon (military construction costs) that were not included in the bid, estimated at $17 to $45 billion for the KC-30, the higher maintenance costs, and many others. The facts are simple Boeing's bid was cheaper, so either you need to change your criteria, or you need to start rooting for a new horse, either way your just spewing out a lot of untruths, unsupported by any facts whatsoever.

Posted by: John | August 28, 2008 4:32 PM

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