Friday, June 13, 2008

Tanker Approps Bill Amendment Readied

Aviation Week reports that Rep. Norm Dicks is working with House Defense Appropriations Chairman Jack Murtha to introduce an amendment to an appropriations bill preventing the award of the U.S. Air Force tanker replacement program to the KC-30 contractor team that includes EADS.

While the GAO deadline to rule on the tanker contract protest is on 19 June, the article reports that the amendment may be introduced regardless of the outcome:
But "no matter what happens with the GAO, if it doesn't stop this, Congress has a responsibility to review this," Dicks told Aviation Week after a House Aerospace Caucus luncheon June 12. "We're going to take whatever action we have to take."
At Tanker War Blog we believe it's go time in the HAC-D. So if you thought there was some rough play before...well you ain't seen nothing yet as both sides will now go to battle over funding for the tanker. When real money is at stake, the gloves come off.


Anonymous said...

...well you ain't seen nothing yet as both sides will now go to battle over funding for the tanker. When real money is at stake, the gloves come off.

And the fun is seeing war efforts compromized as a result. Murtha and Dicks probably cheer at the prospect of pilots falling out of the air in unpopular regions. Good for them.

Go Boeing! May we not have to compete with anyone and send more of our production overseas. Our new motto. 40% or more is the goal! Which is great! And very patriotic!

Hmmm...I guess no one is eligible to build the tankers. Oh well.

Anonymous said...

"No mater" the relevance...we are done here in the Mobile area I guess. Typical. Good job guys. You can laugh at us (as you know you do) as southern scum hicks forever as long as you can keep actual development out of the area. Sadly, you are losing slowly anyway. You can't keep the area as a bunch of silly rednecks no matter your desires. Good job getting a political win on this project. Your doomed overall though. You can't compete without the Congress subsidy.

Take your overpriced/underperforming tanker and kill military people with it between now and 2076 when you delay this to be produced. You "win" with protectionism. But are you not pathetic? I say yes. I can't wait to see the next bidding on big jets for the military. Who is going to spend millions bidding? Errrrrrr...Boeing. And Boeing. And Boeing. Which may be fine for you. Sadly I've never seen a large company be efficient and productive without competition. But that is not what we hope for. 'Cause we are idiots? Or Leftists despising the merits of competition. Boeing should win this and every future big jet contract. As you guys agree.

Anonymous said...

Wow spoken like a true unamerican Sad thing is if you look at alot of the areas that produce Boeing planes like S.C that is a new shop and yes the 787 is mass outsourced but There is still alot of work done right here in the u.s.a Sorry Friends I DO NOT Trust a word of E.A.D.S since they have never kept a word yet. One Answer me this, How can you build back to back jets A-380, M-400, A-350 on your own dime? something dont add up here then take a look at the helo mess dont think we dont give them work But we cannot let them destroy our industial base like they have said they want to. You really want to build a Tanker ask N.G to build a new platform on there own design and build it there you would not here one person complane about that

Anonymous said...

Why even have a bidding and competition process, Dicks can just hand contracts diretly to Boeing there is no conflict there, besides with all his years of USAF experience as a command pilot who could argue!

Anonymous said...

The lack of ease that accompanies the decision is hardly surprising; the catalogue of horrors at EADS reads like a “how not to” primer in a business-school ethics class. The company has a long and sordid history of bribing governments to purchase their airplanes, especially when competing with U.S. aerospace firms. Former CIA Director James Woolsey has called the practice rampant, and concluded that it was an integral part of EADS’ corporate culture. A European Parliament report in 2003 confirmed these corrupt practices, and that EADS has been embroiled in bribery scandals in Canada, Belgium, and Syria.

According to a New York Times report just last October, a French financial regulator turned over evidence of insider trading by senior EADS executives to prosecutors. The executives failed to inform the public about production delays in the A-380 jumbo jet while they quietly dumped their own stock. When the delays became public, unwitting shareholders watched their holdings plummet in value. The co-CEO and co-chairman of EADS resigned under pressure, and now some EADS executives may face indictments.

Even more worrisome is the power grab by Vladimir Putin, who is buying up the depressed shares of EADS like a corporate raider. The prospect of the authoritarian Russian leader, whose political opponents are harassed and jailed while prying journalists turn up missing or murdered, having a heavy hand in EADS affairs is deeply troubling. Russia opposed the invasion of Iraq and has sought to undermine U.S. plans to deploy a missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic.

So in a nut shell Lets give them anything they want

Anonymous said...

The most troubling aspect of the tanker contract is the danger it poses to U.S. national security. According to a report by the Center for Security Policy, EADS has been a leading proliferator of weapons and technology to some of the most hostile regimes in the world, including Iran and Venezuela. When the U.S. formally objected to EADS selling cargo and patrol planes to Venezuelan despot Hugo Chavez, EADS tried to circumvent U.S. law by stripping American-built components from the aircraft. Chavez is now building an oil refinery in Cuba to keep Castro’s failed Communist state afloat, funding terrorists seeking the violent overthrow of Colombia’s government, and recently meddled in the presidential election in Argentina with secretly smuggled cash contributions. If EADS had its way, Chavez would now be advancing his anti-American designs in the Western hemisphere with U.S. technology and components.

EADS entanglements with Venezuela make the Pentagon’s decision to waive the Berry Amendment, which prohibits the export of technology that might be developed during the building of the tanker to third parties, indefensible. Given the sophisticated radar and anti-missile capabilities of military tankers, this is no small matter. Such technology falling into the hands of state sponsor of terrorism would devastate our war fighters.

EADS entanglements with Venezuela make the Pentagon’s decision to waive the Berry Amendment, which prohibits the export of technology that might be developed during the building of the tanker to third parties, indefensible. Given the sophisticated radar and anti-missile capabilities of military tankers, this is no small matter. Such technology falling into the hands of state sponsor of terrorism would devastate our war fighters.

And such a scenario is hardly unreasonable. EADS executives recently attended an air show in Iran and were caught red-handed trying to sell helicopters with military applications. When confronted, an EADS executive said the company was not bound by the U.S. arms embargo against Iran. EADS also sold nuclear components vital to exploding a nuclear device to an Asian company that in turn sold them to an Iranian front operation.

That settles it for the Captain’s Journal. Vladimir Putin is a liar, criminal and ex-KGB thug, and a duplicitous killer with a Napoleon complex. Any currency flowing his direction as a result of this deal would be a catastrophe, notwithstanding the potentially horrible security concerns. To be sure, the DoD may have to have a face-to-face with Boeing or some other contractor to reduce costs, or make the process more accountable. But that doesn’t change our fundamental position. Vladimir Putin can’t be held accountable in a U.S. court. Boeing can.

We are open to serious argumentation in favor of awarding this contract to Airbus, but we haven’t seen any yet. Informing us that they were the low cost bidder gives the Captain’s Journal a good belly laugh. Someone has got to come up with a better argument than that. After all - we didn’t come into town and fall off the turnip truck yesterday. We’ve been around for a while.

Is it not about time to wake up and see things for what they really are ?

Anonymous said...

I do not believe anyone thinks people in Mobil are hicks, Rednecks or the such and as i see it Devlopment in that area seems to be doing rather well despite needing airbus around, I really think alot of people there are just looking at what they can get out of this deal without thinking of 1 National Security,2 The true Impact of American Jobs, And if this truly was not something to worry about why all the fuss? People are fed up, Like 1 reader posted ask N.G to build there own There. I really think You would have a arm load of support. But unfortuatly E.A.D.S has destroyed that base here with there SUBSIDIES. Do you want to see them Destroy the rest? How Selfish.

Anonymous said...

Northrop Grumman builds their own they call it the B2 Stealth Bomber, slightly more complex than your average commercial jet, B52, or tanker. They build all the aircraft carriers and most of the naval combat fleet at Newport News, Avondale, and Ingalls. They have companies all over Europe, and setting up a F35 factory for Turkey. They’re even building a version of the Global Hawk for Europe in San Diego and Mobil. They build avionics, guidance, radar, warfare electronics, battle command/control, satellites and unmanned vehicles. Global Hawk, FireScout and UCAS-D jet powered stealth UAV that takes off and lands on an aircraft carrier - wonder where they got that idea.

I would not suggest NG get in the commercial aircraft business they could do it and in Alabama. They bought Litton, TRW, Ryan Aero and a few others, divested Vought aircraft. Or perhaps they see a commercial airframe as just a commodity.

No, I wouldn’t call Northrop out technically, on business, ethics, a player in the world economy, or on jobs with 125,000 and growing – that thinking will never get you off the ground!

roynapoleon said...

Lets make the assumption that the A330 aircraft is the best-sized tanker/transport for the USAF. Give the contract to NG with the requirement that it be “Americanized”. There are 3 to 7 manufacturers of every part that goes into a commercial transport - at least one is a US company.

Require EADS to obtain certification from their Authority (I believe it is now called ESA) for a second source of the equipment items not already supplied by a US company - that second source to be an American company. The basic structure is maybe, maybe 25% of the cost of one of these babies. All the rest could be supplied by US companies. The wing is made by Britain - which leaves just the fuselage being supplied from France/Germany

Just addressing the big bone items:
The engines are already US - GE
The flight control surfaces (ailerons, rudder and elevators) are all conventional. I bet Spirit Aerostructures right there in Wichita could be tooled up and supplying them in two years.
Even the bigger flight structural items such as the wing flaps, wing slats, vertical fin and horizontal stabilizer could be made here. Again, the airplane design is from the late 1980s and now quite well known. Spirit might need three to four years to tool up for these.
Wheels, tires and brakes are all typical for a jet transport. US manufacturers would have no trouble making these. Here you could have dual US sources.
There are complex structural items such as the landing gear strut and bogie beam, and the engine pylon which are likely long lead procurement so they might take three to four years to manufacture here. But how many aircraft will have been manufactured by then? Not many.
There are the many hydraulic actuators, some with electric actuation packages attached - all standard stuff for suppliers today
Then there is the myriad of hydraulic pumps, electric generators, hyd and pneu valves for which there are many manufacturers.
There are electronic items such as comm radios, navigation radios and sensors, antennas, the radar – all of which have multiple US manufacturers. The cockpit displays and the fly-by-wire control computers might be complex. But, there is so much money to made from a 500 airplane order that the suppliers will be drooling to compete.

This second-sourcing is commonplace in aerospace. So lets use it to the US economys’ advantage. This Americanization would create manufacturing jobs - highly desired, and spread throughout the US, so no congressional rep can say his area is getting the short stick. To be fair, this level of second-sourcing would be unique - to put it mildely and this effort would cost EADS several hundred million dollars - so lets say we pay part of the cost - say 200 million. EADS will certainly scream bloody murder - but NO ONE has ever been looking at a 500 airplane order. They will still make enough money.
There are several real advantages – shorter shipping distances, assured product support. Give NG/EADS say five years to accomplish this Americanization. The program can proceed as quickly as EADS/ NG can make it happen with the Americanization effort happening in the background. So perhaps some of the first airplanes get delivered with some “non-US” equipment items. Remember we are talking a forty year program - its often quoted. These non-US items could be rotated out as the airplanes come in for their inspections if we feel the need to be “pure”. EADS ends up being able to offer the airplane to commercial customers with the Americanization option - perhaps that induces more sales.

Speaking of product support; NG should be required to provide, fund and staff a high fidelity cockpit simulator and flight control computer lab to respond to fleet reported problems and verify corrections without having to get in line for the Airbus facilities in Toulouse.

Also the refueling boom should be procured as separate contract item under a Firm Fixed Price concept so EADS bears any costs associated with a long development program should it occur. There is one hell of a difference between passing gas to one airplane in daylight, at one altitude and speed (and they got to pick ‘em); and putting a boom into service that has been tested and qualified for all boom receptacle equiped airplanes, both day and night, throughout a good range of speeds and altitudes, and under the various abnormal conditions that are reasonably expected to be encountered at some time.