Friday, June 27, 2008

Tanker News 27 June

The following tanker related items caught our eye:

Tanker Recompete Act Introduced:
U.S. Representative Todd Tiahrt (KS), U.S. Senators Pat Roberts (KS) and Sam Brownback (KS) introduced the KC-X Tanker Recompete Act in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. The legislation would prohibit use of any funds by the Department of Defense (DoD) on the KC-X Tanker unless the DoD chooses to outright award the KC-X tanker to Boeing or decides to fairly recompete the KC-X contract.

Chairman Waxman Announces Tanker Hearing:
The House Oversight Committee Announces Tanker Hearing for July 15 to examine the actions of the Air Force in awarding the contract to manufacture aerial refueling tanker aircraft. The Honorable Gene L. Dodaro, Acting Comptroller General of the United States (Head of the GAO) will testify.

Labor Unions Deliver Letters in Support of Boeing to Congress:
Twenty-three unions,labor federations and affiliated organizations have signed and delivered a letter to House and Senate lawmakers calling for Boeing to be immediately awarded the Air Force refueling tanker contract.

Citing the Government Accountability Office (GAO) report that said the KC-30 tanker lacked the ability to refuel all of the Air Force's aircraft and calling Boeing's KC-767 "the clear winner" in the competition to replace the Air Force's aging fleet of tankers, the labor groups urged Congress to award the contract to Boeing without delay.

AFP: Gates Says No decision yet on US air tanker purchase
Key passage:
"I haven't made any decisions yet," Gates said. "But I would say that I take the GAO report very seriously. They've clearly pointed out some areas where we were deficient.

"We've clearly had problems with the tanker contract. And this time around is not the first time, obviously. And so, I think I need to get a better feel for the GAO report and for the criticisms and the nature of the criticisms that they have made."
Congress is now out of session until 7 July, so Gates has some time to think it over before everyone gets back in town. After that, the pressure that has already building will become extreme. DoD has until mid-August to respond to the GAO decision, but no one expects them to try to run the clock down and punt to the next administration.


Anonymous said...

At this point what Gates "chooses" to do is almost moot. There is no way in hell that this contract is going to get funded by Congress and the political costs of dragging this out in an election year are going to be great. The DNC is already getting ready to hang this contract around Senator McCain's neck like an anchor, forcing him to side with those who oppose this contract. If you look at his pronouncement recently, you see he's already distancing himself from this decision stating after reading the GAO report he is "disappointed" that the process was mangled so badly.

So you have the Democrats out for blood, and McCain out to cover his own posterior...not a political environment where the Air Force or DOD can afford to expend their diminishing reserves of credibility to try to push something that is clearly doomed.

The realistic alternatives for the Air Force are either to rebid this proposal (and if their RFP is modified to indicate they really want an oversize tanker like the A330, expect Boeing to propose a 777 derivative that will force the competition to start all over from square one) or to find some fig-leaf to hide their embarrassment and disqualify the Airbus bid as nonresponsive to the RFP and just shift the award to Boeing.

Basically, the Air Force procurement folks blew this one. They can either accept the two year delay and redo it from the start (under intense Congressional scrutiny) or they can find a few scapegoats, fire them, and give the contract to Boeing. Those are their only realistic options.

Wonder which they will do?

Anonymous said...

Oh you want it the boeing way, ok no foreign parts what-so-ever on the Tanker period! What makes a Boeing job more important than any other job for component job overseas? The Boning tanker is going look a little strange with out a tail, wings and 20 other parts it will need to even taxi!

Anonymous said...

it is one thing getting parts it is another to get a whole aircraft and by the way if airbus keeps crying that the dollar is hurting them so, and they say they need to have more work done in a dollar zone that tells alot about just how much they offload, truth is they have there own countries that make up airbus do most of there work germany, spain, france i really do not see the U.S. in there, they protect more of there jobs than what we do and has been proven.

ewaggin said...

The discussion about jobs is a distraction.

The key issue at this point is the finding by the GAO that, based on the evidence presented, Airbus failed to meet two mandatory requirements, and thus was ineligible for a contract award.

This issue must be resolved before the bidding can be reopened. If, as it appears, Airbus was ineligible, then the contract must be awarded to Boeing. End of story.

Anonymous said...

There is no question the Boeing plane is better for the taxpayer and the pilot. The fuel efficiency and manueverablity is better for the Boeing plane. The stick override feature on the Boeing plane is going to be better for training. Hard to believe the USAF botched this so badly but I am glad the truth is surfacing!