Friday, February 19, 2010

Tanker Wars - Update

I am just throwing out some generic news about the upcoming "Spring Offensive" in the Tanker Wars. Currently the Air Force is planning on releasing their RFP sometime next week. They did address some issues in the RFP from the Draft version that the bidders were all complaining about, some more than others.

So far this is what we have:

The NGS/EADS/Airbus Team is still crying about "competition" warning the Air Force that it may not bid because it feels the Draft version of the RFP is tilted towards its major competitor in this arena – Boeing. Their complaints are legion and the Air Force to its credit did go through the motions of listening to NGS/EADS/Airbus but we won't know how much affect this will have on the actual RFP until it is released. Northrop is keen on the competition complaint (where else have we heard that, oh yeah the Royalty in our House and Senate whining for a public option in Health Care) that I think they have hooked their whole wagon to this rube, here is a quote from NGS Spokesman Randy Belote

"the current draft RFP, as structured, fails the test of true competition and, without meaningful changes, is not an RFP to which Northrop Grumman can respond."

So let's see just how far the Air Force goes in modifying the draft, that should be this coming week.

As far as Boeing is concerned their pretty much ok with the draft and I think their only complaint was about the Fixed-Price portion of the effort. This to me is understandable because on any new aircraft program there are issues that you cannot predict and bidding that as a Fixed-Price is assuming a lot of risk. Boeing should be able to master this however given they already have a version of their Tanker, the KC-767 flying and operating for both Japan and Italy. But still, the Air Force will want its own "stink" on this aircraft and the contractor will have to apply that and that is where the risk is at.

Programmatically the biggest worry Boeing had was the idea of"Split" tanker procurement. This is where the Air Force buys aircraft from both contractors. This is of course beyond dumb, it borders insanity but it is a favor to some. The biggest proponent of this approach was disgraced Congressman John Murtha and he had the good fortune of dying. Murtha was the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee and he welded a lot of power in that role, and was involved in a lot of shady dealings in that role. I won't go into the Hidetha Marines incident and his comments on that, which is why I called him "disgraced". But that is another story.

At any rate, with Murtha pushing up daisy's the idea of a "Split" procurement pretty much goes down into the hole with him, Senator Shelby aside. His replacement as Chair on the HASC is generally recognized as a Boeing supporter.

Here is an article regarding the fact that the Air Force is prepared for a single bidder, is this the Boy's in Blue reading the tea leaves? One wonders. Well we don't have long to wait.

BT: Jimmy T sends.

1 comment:

Buck said...

We've already waited TOO long for the RFP. Ten years, as a matter of fact. That's freakin' criminal.