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Archive for Friday, December 4, 2009

Tanker deal

The reluctance of a tanker bidder should benefit Boeing and Kansas.

December 4, 2009

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The consortium of Northrop-Grumman Corp. and France’s EADS, which is bidding for the new U.S. Air Force refueling tanker contract, sounds like the youngster on the baseball playground who couldn’t get his way so he took his ball and bat and went home.

Members of the Kansas congressional delegation contend the Pentagon should not revise the bidding process despite demands from Northrop Grumman and its business partner. Sen. Sam Brownback and Rep. Todd Tiahrt of Kansas are leading the charge to prevent changes.

The Northrop group wants the bidding requirements to be changed and is saying it may choose not to bid if changes aren’t made. All well and good. We would be better off if the Boeing Co. with its ties to Kansas gets the contract. At stake is a $35 billion deal, and Boeing’s Kansas facilities are in line to perform some of the work if Boeing prevails. The state needs the jobs, and it is good that Brownback and Tiahrt are trying to get them.

The bidding process was changed once when it was revealed that the Air Force had used improper procedures that seemed to steer the contract to the Northrop group. So the door was reopened with Boeing again strongly in the mix. Now the other bidders say the Department of Defense specifications favor Boeing.

The Kansas congressmen say the competition for the huge contract has been fair after earlier changes and that new alterations would further delay the building of the needed tankers. There are benefits to having competitive bids on the tankers, but there also are benefits to having this essential military aircraft manufactured in the United States.

If Northrop-Grumman and EADS want to pull out of the bidding as a protest over the process, fine. Boeing and Kansas can use the business and the sooner it can be steered our way, the better.

Comments

notajayhawk 4 years, 4 months ago

Loudermouth (Anonymous) says…

"Cheers, and may the best tanker win. Period."

It did. Boeing whined. Now our Airmen will have to fly in an inferior plane so a few more Kansas residents can keep government-funded jobs.

What a country.

"Now go take a shower before your mother breaks down your bedroom door."

How old are you, six?

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gccs14r 4 years, 4 months ago

I think we got our money's worth out of the existing tankers. There has been a lot of waste in defense spending since WWII, but not in the KC-135R tanker fleet. Let's try to keep it that way.

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JackRipper 4 years, 4 months ago

Grumman or Boeing, who cares, we are a country that is basing its existence on becoming the new Rome. We already outspending everybody now. Do we really want to go down the path we are on now?

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Brandon Devlin 4 years, 4 months ago

Why is Northrop Grumman crying foul? Because the new RFP (Request for Proposal) is specifying a smaller airframe. Boeing planned to use a surplus of older, smaller airframes to supply the order, while Northrop and it's sub-contractor, EADS, would build a tanker on a larger Airbus frame. So really, the Air Force has written an RFP that seems, on paper, to be more tailored to Boeing.

Nobody in Kansas seemed to care or remembers when Boeing was the cry-baby when the changes hurt them the last go around.

I realize it's unpopular to criticize Boeing in this state. . .but the last time I checked, my company (Northrop Grumman, not Northrop-Grumman, Dolph) has over 500 employees in the state of Kansas, and at least some of them reside in your fair city. Northrop Grumman and it's partners and suppliers would have brought over 5000 jobs to the state of Kansas had the tanker win been upheld. If we were to compete, and WIN AGAIN, we still would.

But of course, I'm sure Boeing and Brothers Brownback and Tiahrt will make sure that won't EVER happen.

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gccs14r 4 years, 4 months ago

"The bidding process was changed once when it was revealed that the Air Force had used improper procedures that seemed to steer the contract to the Northrop group."

The LJW seems to have forgotten about the original bidding fraud that handed the original contract to Boeing.

We need a new tanker fleet. We've needed one for a long time. We need to establish a set of operational requirements for the new tankers that suits the needs of the military, then open it up for open bidding. If Tupolev wins, so be it.

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JackRipper 4 years, 4 months ago

The US already spends more than China and Russia plus a generous handful of other countries already, what military value are we talking about? Besides that, we'd better start recognizing that certain backyards of up and coming countries can no longer be defined as our best interests when it goes against the same backyard argument the US uses all the time. The sun is setting in the future for American military control of the world and we'd better start spending the money for all the debts and needs we have for the average citizen. Aren't we old enough as a country to stop believing in the boogieman? We are spending more then we did when facing the Ruskies toe to toe chasing guys we can't catch running around in the mountains in Asia, what the hell is all this spending doing for us? Watch the video linked above and find out the answer.

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KU_cynic 4 years, 4 months ago

All Americans should judge this tanker competition according to military value for the money, not by according to parochial local interests.

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Loudermouth 4 years, 4 months ago

The point is that neither you, nor I have available the slightest amount of information necessary to make such comments. These stupid comment forums are merely put in place by the owners of the newspaper or whatever to watch traffic and generate more revenue dollars through advertising. All of this amounts to no more than armchair quarterbacking. Your type think you know it all but in actuality know nothing. Thanks for pointing out my typo; rest assured I know how to spell flawed. Cheers, and may the best tanker win. Period. Now go take a shower before your mother breaks down your bedroom door.

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loudmouthrealist 4 years, 4 months ago

JackRipper

Thanks for that link. I was aware of this and actually quote Dwight D. on this quite often.

I hope many others will spend the time watching this incredible foresight of our past General/President.

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loudmouthrealist 4 years, 4 months ago

Ok Loudermuth, that's a cheap one. Their headquarters may be in London, but Smiths Aerospace was purchased by GE in 2007. Is GE now British? How about that homework!!!!

http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/ge-buys-smiths-aerospace-for-48b-02955/

But feel free to continue pointing out my "flawd comments"

Oh and by the way? Homework? flawd?????? But that's a cheap one on my part.

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JackRipper 4 years, 4 months ago

The problem is even bigger than that loudmouthrealist. This is well worth watching to understand the real problem as laid out by the president who was also a five star general.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=9219858826421983682&ei=FjIZS7PGJYjMqgL6xYy4Dw&q=why+we+fight&hl=en#

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Loudermouth 4 years, 4 months ago

Seriously? Seriously. Smiths? They are British based in London. Do more homework, thats just the beginning of your flawd comments. Cheers.

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loudmouthrealist 4 years, 4 months ago

Your editorial points out the problem that has brought this great country of ours to its knees. Selfish and greedy attitudes of businesses, politicians and citizens is all that matters (more money for my pockets).

You do realize, if the contract goes to Northrop Grumman/EADS, the tanker will still be built in the USA (Mobile, AL). The Northrup/Grumman conglomeration also includes the following American companies that would all participate and benefit in this project: General Electric, Honeywell, Smiths, Sargent Fletcher, AAR Cargo Systems, Parker Aerospace and Telephonics Corporation.

The real question is: Are we (the American taxpayers from Ks) willing to spend hundreds of millions or billions of US $ more of our federal tax dollars, just so the State of KS (Boeing) gets a bigger slice of the pie?

Or should we look at the facts and get the best product for the least amount of money?

I am not saying that Boeing is not the better choice (for all of America) over Grumman. If it is then Boeing should get the contract. But if it is not then Grumman should get the contract.

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