Archive for Friday, December 4, 2009

Tanker deal

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

December 4, 2009


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.


Loudermouth 8 years, 5 months ago

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

Loudermouth 8 years, 5 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.

KU_cynic 8 years, 5 months ago

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

gccs14r 8 years, 5 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.

Brandon Devlin 8 years, 5 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.

gccs14r 8 years, 5 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.

notajayhawk 8 years, 5 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?

Commenting has been disabled for this item.