Thursday, April 24, 2008

EADS's Tanker: American as Apple Strudel

Like politicians running for public office, the KC-30's nationality seems to change with what ever constituency it is pandering to at the moment.

In case you missed it, last month EADS won an in-name-only competition to lease 14 tankers to the British Air Force for $26 billion dollars. (We will save our commentary for later on how crazy this price is even if it does include infrastructure, training and maintenance services. BTW: In the US we are buying 179 of them for $35 billion. Talk about king of all lease rip offs!)

The interesting thing is that when the British government names the contractors working on the tankers, which we are told are near identical to those the US Air Force wants to buy, Northrop Grumman is not mentioned:

The contract,...was handed to AirTanker Ltd, a consortium led by Franco-German group EADS which includes Cobham, Rolls-Royce and VT Group of Britain as well as Thales of France, the government said.

But some how that same plane is then marketed as America's tanker and has Northrop Grumman listed as the prime contractor here in the good old USA. As we have said on other occasions, "we couldn't make this up if we tried."

We at Tanker War Blog refuse to suspend our disbelief on the nationality of the KC-30, especially when the first of tanker scheduled to be deliver as part of the contract is currently sitting in a hanger in Germany just waiting for the resolution of Boeing's protest. (See photo courtesy of Northrop Grumman above.)

Any nominations for this first EADS tanker delivered to the US be named "The Spirit of Mobile"? It might be fitting given all the phantom Alabama jobs it is supposedly creating.


Anonymous said...

Ok, so NG/Airbus already have a Tanker ready to be militarized and it has been established that much of this will be done in a Florida Grumman facility until the production line is ready in Alabama.

Where is Boeings plane? NG/Airbus went ahead and actually built the plane they were proposing. Boom and all. Why couldn't have Boeing done the same thing?

It would have been a major benefit seeing as how they have never built the boom that they proposed before. That and it would give the AF a taste of how the 767 with its various components from other Boeing aircraft would actually fit together.

Boeing had nothing to show and meanwhile NG/Airbus built the plane on their own dime, got it in the air, put on a boom and has successfully re-fueled with it in many scenarios.

Let Boeing get their Italy/Japan Tankers delivered (which aren't the same Tanker as they proposed to the US, that and they're way behind schedule) and then they can focus on a better design for the next round of Tankers.

I honestly think if Boeing got the contract we wouldn't see a KC-767 many months if not years before they would be able to deliver a plane to the USAF.

And shame on you for your tasteless comments about the Alabama workers. This contract is going to do so much for that area.

Stick the 767 workers on the Dreamliner project and maybe those planes won't be so behind. You can also go ahead and pull the folks working on the virtual US/Mexico border since that got canned after Boeing couldn't produce anything.

Tanker War Blog said...

Glad to see we hit a nerve with this post.

We don't feel we are insulting Alabama workers. We are pointing out that they should probably be a bit skeptical of the number of jobs they have been promised for all the tax incentives they giving EADS. Anything less would truly be an insult to their intelligence.

Also, you have to admit that the genius that thought it was agood idea to release a photo of "America's New Tanker" sitting in a hanger in Germany with the stars and stripes hung out both front windows needs to be understand the political issues better.

Anonymous said...

Apple Strudel tastes great!

In Austria I saw Apple Strudel with all kinds of flags, even with stars and strips.

Does someone at the Air Force got Austrian ancestors?

Anonymous said...

I and many residents of Alabama believe that the Air Force tanker aircraft will be assembled at Brookley which means that all major components, wings, fuselage, tail group, landing gear, etc,,etc.----, which are very fragile must be shipped to Mobile from France. To assure that this will happen this must be spelled out in the contract so that that the infacture, furnished by our taxes, and the many employees required will take place. Logic points to a diffrent senario. It would be less costly to assemble the aircraft in France and fly them to Mobile where some additional equipment would be added. This is not what citizens have been led to believe. I would like to see our communities benifit to the fullest extent so my suggestion is to make the aircraft assembly requirement at Brookley part of the contract. Chris Hayne, Foley, AL.