Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Congress Seeks Ways to Stop EADS Contract

Congressional strategies are now being formulated to stop the award of the tanker contract to the team that includes EADS.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports the legislative options under discussion include:

  • Prohibiting the award of a U.S. government contract to any company found by the U.S. government to be receiving illegal subsidies. (The U.S. Trade Representative has stated EADS, the parent of plane maker Airbus, receives illegal subsidies from European governments, the effect of which has been to undercut Boeing's prices on commercial aircraft and gain worldwide market share.)

  • Directing the Air Force to reconsider the competing tanker proposals and "factor in the subsidies.

  • Directing the Air Force to reopen the bidding and allow Boeing to propose building a tanker based on a larger airplane.

  • Canceling the EADS-Northrop contract outright.

  • Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., chairman of the House subcommitee that oversees military spending, has also warned that he might freezing tanker funds if the contract is not overturned.

As the economy continues to slow and the November election frenzy continues to build, we at Tanker War Blog do not forsee the tanker contract surviving in its current form. The Bush administation has been curiously silent, so we expect it will be left to Congress to carry out the will of the people.


Aurora said...

While I wish Boeing luck with their protest, in my opinion the best chance of killing this deal is to inject it into the political debate in the presidential and congressional races. The stage appears set for this, in the event that the GAO rules against Boeing, which I think is likely. Some points that need to be stressed. (I've posted these on Boeing's tanker blog, but they bear repeating here).

1. The Europeans are opting to build their own global positioning satellite system (GPS) even though ours has been in existence for over
two decades. Why?

2. The finest military cargo plane in the world is the Boeing C-17, yet the French and Germans are developing their own cargo aircraft, the A400. This program has been plagued with cost over runs and lengthly delays, yet France and Germany steadfastly refuse to consider buying the C-17. Not only that but they spurned North American Pratt & Whitney, which had significant expertise in turboprop technology, in order to develop their own turboprop engine. This engine is also plagued with technical problems and delays.

3. France and Germany spurned Spirit Aerosystems' bid for the 6 EADS factories they are trying to "privatize", opting instead for the European solution. Euro politicians were candid that the move was to protect European jobs. The factory "sale" saga continues to this day.

Personally, I can't fault the Europeans for being protective of their defense aerospace business. But we are under no obligation to help them at our expense? What obligation do we have to a country, that lacks the political will to place it's troops in harms way in Afghanistan, despite the risk of NATO fraying at the seams? I'm referring to Germany, of course, who steadfastly refuses to base it's troops in the south of Afghanistan. Adds new meaning to "we're behind you all the way".

Anonymous said...

I think the C-17 is twice as big as the A400 and twice as expensive too.

About the tanker deal; as a European tax payer I co-financed numerous purchases of US Fighters, Hercs, Apaches, Chinooks and the list goes on.

I will ask my government to hold the purchase scheduled in 2008 of a large number a JSF fighters pending the outcome of this tanker deal.

I think I will not be alone. This is about credibility.

Kind regards
loyal euro tax payer

Aurora said...

Dear loyal euro tax payer:
I'm sending this link along so you can provide your government with a "friendly" source for all your fighter needs.