Monday, January 25, 2010

Tanker Wars – Part VIII

Words out that the Air Force is making minor changes to the RFP that will be released any day not for the massive Air Refueling Tanker buy. Not everyone is happy. Seems that the Fixed Price portion of the contract includes too much risk for NGS/EADS. And I thought they were bidding on a pretty much Off-The-Shelf product, hardly any development required to meet the Air Force requirements. Same as Boeing, if the cockpit is the only place that needs to be tinkered with to meet Air Force needs then why all the complaining. Not sure, but they may be looking for their excuse not to bid. They have been complaining all along that this new RFP looks like a replacement for the KC-135 and not a "new" aircraft. Huh? Is that not what they are doing?

And here I open my Aviation Week magazine (yes, I still get the paper version) and see this Ad:

NGS wants to make this thing about "competition", jobs for the "American" workforce, yet they never once mention that they are teamed with EADS for this procurement. Funny huh, I thought so too. And when you dig into contract awards it seems that the French Bias within the EADS consortium makes including them and "competition" in the same breath a real laugher. There is a one-way road here folks, the US Government is required to compete without regards to national origin and has frequently given good work away to not only EADS but other European companies (the very large Army contract for utility helicopters is an example of the former and look at all the French and Spanish equipment the Coast Guard flies as an example of the latter) yet you do not see such contracts the other way.

NGS long ago gave up its capabilities as a Large Air Frame manufacturer ceding this business to Lockheed and Boeing. Now they want back into the business and are willing to partner with the "French Devil" to get their share of the 35 Billion dollars that will come if they prevail. In the end, will NGS be back in that business, NO.

I would normally push the build it here in America by Boeing but I know a large part of the 767 is built outside of the US and is simply completed here in the US. This is not unlike what NGS and EADS have in mind with their KC-45/Airbus A330 airframe conversion.

But there is something to be said of a company on its own dime develops an airframe from scratch, sells it on the Free Market without help from government owned Airlines with no "Launch Aid" money and makes a success out of that airframe. The majority of the benefit of a Boeing award would be here in the U.S. not in Europe and that is enough for me.

BT: Jimmy T sends.


Buck said...

Agreed... in spades. But you know that I'm a Boeing homer from the word Go. Kinda weird, since my Ol' Man retired from Northrop (after the Air Force)... but that was back in the days when Northrop actually designed and manufactured stuff without partnering with Zee Franch.

JimmyT said...

Buck, Yeah I like them too. I worked for 35 years on a Lockheed product and hate that company and I've actually worked with Boeing a couple of times on projects and they were great. Loved it best when Boeing was doing stuff to the Lockheed aircraft!!

BT: Jimmy T sends.