Wednesday, February 23, 2011

KC-X Tanker Wars - Award in Sight

The USAF may announce as soon as tomorrow 24 February, the winner of the long delayed and protested replacement for the KC-135. There has been a lot of activity in recent weeks. Each competing company has submitted updated cost proposals and rumor has it that EADS has the lowest raw number.

Supporters of the Boeing aircraft tried to get the USAF to throw out the model they are using to “equalize” the cost differences between the two radically different sized airframes being proposed. The Boeing supporters feel that the model (called IFARA or Integrated Fleet Air Refueling Assessment model) bends in favor of the larger airframe. This model was devised to level the playing ground but some folks think that not enough of a penalty is assessed to an airframe that would require a substantial additional cost to the Air Force in the form of building larger hangers and reinforcing runways, taxiways and ramp area for the larger and heavier aircraft.

Plus, EADS being a less-than-for-profit business affair can set the price of each airframe with no consideration of making a profit since the partner governments that own the parent company (Airbus) are primarily concerned with jobs the ultimate cost can be way less than an airframe much smaller than the A330 they proposed. This makes for a huge bias towards the EADS bid and this huge award going overseas.

And I know, EADS claims that they will open another production line here in the US but I think what they will do is simply set up a facility where they only fit-out a completed tube with the classified communications gear this aircraft will have to have installed. So, there will be jobs here in the US but they will not be nearly what are being claimed in the EADS propaganda.

So, stay tuned. A legal crap storm may break out as early as Friday!!

BT: Jimmy T sends.

1 comment:

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