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Bloviating Zeppelin: Boeing's Second Chance

Bloviating Zeppelin

(in-ep-toc'-ra-cy) - a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Boeing's Second Chance

Boeing gets a second chance to re-bid the USAF's $35-billion dollar tanker project, the aircraft necessary to replace its aging fleet of Boeing KC-135 Stratotankers and Boeing KC-10A Extenders.

EADS/Northrop-Grumman acquired the initial award. EADS is the parent company of Airbus, the foreign aircraft manufacturer. Airbus is subsidized heavily by the French government.

Boeing filed a protest early this year alleging more than 100 violations of proper contracting practices, eight of which were sustained by the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress.

WASHINGTON --- The Defense Department has reopened the bidding process for a multibillion-dollar midair refueling tanker contract, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said today. The announcement comes after the Government Accountability Office last month found improper practices related to the $35 billion contract awarded in February to the Northrop-Grumman/EADS/Airbus consortium, which prompted a protest from rival bidder Boeing Company.

Call me insular or jingoistic, but my disagreement then and now is this: if the consortium of countries of controlling origin (to include France) conjure a dispute with the United States, they may decide to cut off supply of the tankers or refuse blueprints or production access to the aircraft. This is a 30-year contract. Much can happen in 30 years.

Please remember, these replacement tankers must refuel any US military aircraft to include Air Force One -- and contracts must consider any proprietary and classified information needed for in-flight refueling maneuvers and compatibilities. And finally, Boeing is not subsidized by the United States (see Boeing's tanker blog here).

This, to me, is a matter of clear national security, not cost. The Boeing KC-767 should win.



Blogger Mark said...

Yeah, AND consider, should we ever get in a war, those damn French planes would probably surrender.

Thu Jul 10, 03:12:00 PM PDT  
Blogger ABFreedom said...

LOL mark ... damn things would turn white with fear.

Also consider that Fwaaaance is about 40% muslim ... guess who's building your planes... 500 cars burning is a quiet night.

Thu Jul 10, 05:24:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Gayle said...

Muslims building our planes??? ACK! Not good!

Thu Jul 10, 06:25:00 PM PDT  
Blogger shoprat said...

We are going to outsource from time to time, but we should never outsource military hardware. Too important.

Thu Jul 10, 07:17:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Mark: Q: How does one view the French Navy?
A: Through a glass-bottomed boat.

ABF: No duh. France is horribly compromised by our loving and understanding Islamic compatriots from Algeria and Morocco.

Gayle: yawn. It's France. What else is new?



Thu Jul 10, 07:37:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Z said...

I have a close association with EADS and lived 4 years in Paris because of it.

The French execs were THE WORST...though I LOVED living there.

FRANCE IS NOT 40% Muslim! It's 6%!! BUT, it only takes ONE to 'really make your day', right!?

Thu Jul 10, 09:52:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Z: so the nightly car burnings are simply because the Disaffected Few only want toasted marshmallows??


Thu Jul 10, 10:14:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Just John said...

Yep; this one should have been a no-brainer from the beginning. I guess it's considered "mean spirited" to avoid reliance upon foreign military contracts.

Thu Jul 10, 10:30:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous WMD_Maker said...

The air force is notorious for changing requirements in a bidding process so that their "prefered" company has the better chance at getting the contract. They just got caught this time. Thats why the decision will be from the DOD office NOT AF procurement. I wish congress would make up its collective mind. The first time they let the contract (seems it was about 6 yrs ago) Boeing got it but congress said that the process was screwed, now EAD gets it and the process is screwed so lets go for best of 3.

Fri Jul 11, 07:19:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Z said...

BZ,did I sound like I LIKE MUSLIMS IN FRANCE? I'm only pointing out to the guy who said 40% of France is muslim that it's not, that's all. OF COURSE the muslims are hideous there......a HUGE problem, but not 40% worth.

Those car fires we heard about were only mentioned because of the number and because Paris actually had problems; the damned muslims do car fires EVERY NIGHT around Paris...EVERY NIGHT. Why isn't our media mentioning THAT? And the French stupidly build towns for the 'disenfranchised', which these same disenfranchised immediately turn into ghettos that the cops have to flee after 2 years.

Fri Jul 11, 10:54:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Z: allegedly intelligent Euros are their own worst defeatist enemies.


Fri Jul 11, 12:04:00 PM PDT  
Blogger A Jacksonian said...

This was the 'savings' of Sen. McCain who first scotched the sweetheart deal that was being arranged in the USAF. The problem with the vetting of this contract is that it is influenced by the pressure to show that Sen. McCain was right in forcing the end of the sweetheart deal... which means Boeing wouldn't get it. That is behind the scenes speculation, but looking at what has happened. Even if Boeing had the better aircraft, fit the specs, and demonstrated best value pricing for the government (no need to refit hangars).

Believe me when I say that getting a contract award reviewed by the GAO and then audited and finding troubles, now placing the decision making business at square one for the contract is major egg on the USAF's face: contracts are rarely overturned on appeal and it looks extremely bad that the Contract Officer would not stop problems before the process began. There is some question of ensuring that due diligence to adhere to the Federal Acquisition Regulations was done. That is something you do not mess with on a buy this big.

I didn't think much of the sweetheart rental idea, but pressure to weigh in against a good company is also not so hot.

As for Airbus - they are having a tussle over who will own the company between France and Germany. And their delivery schedule for their new wide-body is still years behind its original dates. That *alone* should have killed them: lack of good past performance in the commercial realm. Add into that the requirement for new hangars and facilities for the Airbus bid, and it should have been knocked out completely.

Fri Jul 11, 05:02:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Violence Worker said...

Speaking as one who actually gets a paycheck from a certain Chicago based aerospace conglomerate, I think the Air Force screwed up. McCain was right to scotch the original deal. It was terrible and done by folks who later found themselves at Club Fed. And contrary to what the Union goons in Commercial Airplanes want you to think, McCain had absolutely nothing to do with this latest fiasco.

Note that the bidding is now out of AF hands and is being handled by DOD. Also note that the DOD did a little purge of a few top AF Generals a few weeks ago. (I don't think that had much to do with the Tanker deal, but it sure doesn't hurt)

You can bet that this time around EADS and Boeing will be in a battle royal because they know each other's bids and they willl be looking to seriously undercut the other. Might save the taxpayer a drachma or two.

Not that I am not in any way shape or form part of the bidding process nor am I employed by the manufacturing arm of any company. I'm guessing like everyone else.


Fri Jul 11, 07:24:00 PM PDT  

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