Thursday, July 31, 2008

KC-30 Supporters Hit New Low

Fresh from swift boating General Handy, KC-30 supporters hit a new low this week by forming a front group called Alabamians to Build American Tankers (ABAT). They are running a smear campaign with radio ads and have set up their own website at

Here is the text of the ads:
Ad #1 - Alabamian Confronts Boeing
MAN: Boeing deserves the Air Force Refueling Tanker project because it's an American company employing American workers.
ANNCR: And Alabama where a better tanker would be built isn't in America?
MAN: You know what I mean, no sense creating new jobs in Alabama when we can do the work up in Washington State.
ANNCR: So 2500 new jobs in Alabama wouldn't help our national economy?
MAN: You can't build planes in Alabama.
ANNCR: Your company trusts Alabama workers to build high tech weapons, rockets and space vehicles.
MAN: But our Boeing planes are ready now.
ANNCR: Ready now? You mean the ones you promised Italy four years ago? Are those ready yet?
MAN: Hey, we're Boeing.
ANNCR: And the Alabama plane is newer, with better technology.
MAN: Hey, we're Boeing.
ANNCR: And the Alabama plane can carry more fuel, more passengers and more supplies.
MAN: Hey, we're Boeing.
ANNCR: Is that all you can say?
MAN: What else can I say? Clearly Alabama has a better tanker.
ANNCR: Paid for by Alabamians to Build American Tankers

Ad #2 - Boeing Can't Win
EFCT: Sound of jet engine whining along coming in several times during the ad
ANNCR: It seems like every time we hear about Boeing and military contracts we hear about cheating. The reason we are still trying to replace our aging refueling tankers is because Boeing executives were involved in a scandal of bribery and cheating in the last bid. Our Air Force is working hard to protect our country but it appears that Boeing's corporate policy is "if Boeing can't win no one can"...and that means our troops lose.
EFCT: Engine sputtering
ANNCR: May day may day
ANNCR: Paid for by Alabamians to Build American Tankers

Ad #3 - Alabama Can be Trusted
ANNCR: Boeing says America's in danger if Alabamians build refueling tankers for our troops. Boeing claims military technology will wind up overseas. Boeing's one to talk. Last February their engineer was arrested for sending trade secrets to Communist China. And, in June, the FBI caught a Boeing scientist with top secret defense information on his personal laptop. No telling where those secrets were going.
ANNCR: At lease we can keep a secret in Alabama. Paid for by Alabamians to Build American Tankers.
Just who is ABAT and who is funding them?

We would guess the members are a select group of people who either have been brainwashed by the local papers and pandering politicians or those who would benefit from an Airbus facility in Mobile. This seems to be the case as a news story on ABAT lists Mobile locals Bryan Lee, attorney/lobbyist Palmer Hamilton, real estate developer Paul Wesch, and accountant Mike Thompson as members.

We will not venture a public guess on who is funding them, but we probably all know who that is already.

We do know for sure that a PR firm that is doing work for ABAT is Strategy Public Relations in Mobile Alabama. And, a Ms. Krista Burroughs appears to be running at least the website efforts of this shameful campaign.

On Strategy's website it states Krista has:
"over 17 years experience in public relations, Krista is responsible for supervising our production quality and makes sure client services are delivered on schedule and on budget. In addition, she possesses strong and diversified managerial and administrative skills, over seeing day-to-day agency operations. Krista is also proficient in desktop and graphic design, having developed a number of various collateral and time-sensitive pieces. She is a certified webmaster, specializing in the industrial and entertainment field, and serves on the board of directors for the Mobile International Festival."
Well, she can now add outrageous propaganda director, EADS/Airbus apologist, and corporate attack ad specialist to that resume.

If you would like to comment either for or against her work please feel free to e-mail her at, call (251) 432-9200, or even fax (251) 432-9209.

The two other members of the firm can be reached at and You can track down the actual ABAT members and contact them on your own if you wish, but remember the old Southern saying about wrestling with a pig. You both end up dirty, but only your opponent enjoys it.

Boeing issued this response to the ABAT ads:
We have no idea who this group is or how it is funded. Boeing is the largest aerospace employer in Alabama. These ads are an affront to our more than 3,000 hard-working, highly-talented employees and their families in the state. They are also clearly a sign of desperation in support of our competitor. The ads do a disservice to our customer, the men and women who serve our country, more than 160,000 Boeing employees, and to Northrop-Grumman/EADS.

The GAO ruled that the recent tanker competition was seriously flawed and that the award to Northrop-Grumman/EADS should be recompeted. Our focus will remain on the new competition and getting the best technology to the warfighter and the best value to the U.S. taxpayer.
It is good to see Boeing taking the high road, but very disheartening to see some KC-30 supporters creating new ways to sink even lower.

(If anyone needs to know who really has the better tanker they can visit us at Tanker War Blog anytime.)


Anonymous said...

All emotions aside, the Air Force, Boeing and EADS have all had their problems. However, this isn't a popularity contest. It is supposed to be about meeting the specifically defined requirements set forth by the Air Force for a replacement tanker. The rules must be applied fairly to all participating parties or no one wins. The ultimate winner is supposed to be the men and women fighting for our country and the taxpayers who are financially supporting their efforts. For my money, I want to see an aircraft that performs well, provides the greatest safety, is fuel efficient, can be used in areas where runway distance is limited, and uses proven technology for refueling aircraft. Whomever best meets the criteria should build the tanker.

Anonymous said...

After all they have said about Boeing They do this, There P.R Lady should have a nickname like Tokyo Rose, Cause it sounds like what would comeout of her, I am Shure there Great company EADS and there tactfull ways of doing things are Behind this, Since there lobying with the president may not have been so fruitfull Talk about good old southern Hospitality. I thought N.G. Would have a bit more class But i was wrong, Really goes to show who the real whiners are, So will the people of alabama, Eads, N.G, And Tokyo Rose come on down Take a bow This crybaby trophy is for You.

Anonymous said...

Man that is a JOKE american Tanker. what will they build for it?

geroge hanshaw said...

It matters not. This one will be decided in the courts if the RFP is substantively changed and the DOD tries to push this through on an abbreviated timeline.

Way back when, the USAF wrote an RFP that basically had KC-767 written all over it. Somewhere in source selection, they changed their minds. They aren't entitled to do that under the law.

If they want to go back to the beginning, and put the KC-Z competition first, they certainly can do so. They cannot run the KC-X procurement with a KC-Z RFP and abbreviate it though. If the USAF wants the tankers promptly, they will have to settle for what they asked for, the KC-767. If they want the KC-Z large tanker replacement program, they need to run through it from the start. Hopefully that would yield something BETTER than the A330, which is larger than the KC-10 while being LESS capable.

Big isn't always better. Sometimes it's just bigger.

Anonymous said...

George Hanshaw,

Thanks for adding your valuable insight and wisdom to this debate. You continually cut through the PR, BS, and various canards to get at the heart of the issue and to keep the other bloggers on topic. The rantings of a delusional few obfuscate the salient points, attempting to drag us all down to the lowest common denominator—in this instance that includes name-calling, propaganda, and spin, spin, spin. [To those people--you know who you are--please stop repeating your baseless arguments!]

This should truly be about the needs of the warfighters and how to best serve them. If big is better, the NGC/EADS and Boeing proponents should have no problem with completely revising the SRD, updating the RFP, and competing by the rules as then stated. If not, score the FPR proposals that were submitted based on the original criteria, of course satisfying the GAO recommendations, and let the chips fall where they may. That is how it is supposed to be done. Legally.

Again George, much obliged.

george hanshaw said...

The A 380 has finally landed in NYC.

The freighter version once had 25 orders, but delays in getting the A380 built due to the French and German companies using different CAD programs causing the wiring harnesses to be too short, led to UPS and FedEx cancelling it, so the project is on indefinite hold. If you believe that bigger is always better though, the A380 would have made one hell of a tanker. With an empty weight of 555,000 pounds and a max Takeoff weight of 1.3 MILLION pounds, you have 745,000 pounds to divvy up amongst fuel, people, and pallets. As far as pallets go, it can take 13 on the lower deck, 28 on the main deck, and 17 on the upper deck. Now that's impressive.

It's wingspan is 261 feet (compared to 197 for the A330)
It's length is 220 feet (compared to 208 for the A330)

Of course, there are currently only 19 airfields in the world besides NYC that have the weight bearing capacity in their runways and taxiways, as well as the wingtip clearance in taxiways and parking areas to permit the A380 to fly in and out of them. You might want to scratch Bangkok Airport from that list. Despite theoretically being capable, they ran into a building on their promotional tour there.

Granted, you are going to wind up with a hell of a lot of operational limitations for military basing - I'm not sure there are ANY military bases with the taxiway clearances needed, actually, although it certainly would fit on Northrup Strip in New Mexico

and on the dry lake bed at Edwards AFB with minimal difficulties.

So for you bigger-is-better advocates, well - here's your chance.

george hanshaw said...


Boeing actually has a number of options. Since DOD made the bonehead move of trying to say that an RFP stating they WILL give additional credit for additional fuel offload over the offload of the KC-135 is a "clarification" of an RFP that said specifically that they would NOT give additional credit for that, the advantage really is to Boeing legally.

They can take this to court and show the original RFP, show any company document indicating that the 767 was selected as their contender based on that RFP, and show that they were denied the opportunity to make a proposal for a larger aircraft by the tight timeframe now specified in this "clarification," and the court is going to throw out the "competition."

All the Boeing legal department is doing right now is deciding what's their most advantageous way to play this:
a. Put in a pro forma protest now and then legally challenge the award if it goes to N-G, but just forget about it if the 40-year cost provision gives the contract to Boeing.
b. Legally challenge it now. This will throw it into the next administration, no doubt about it.
c. Withdraw from the competition insisting on full payback for all expenses incurred thus far, then challenge the contract once awarded. This should give them the chance to come back and do it all over again in about three years.

Basically, the DOD has blown their chance to do this right. They should have just started over if they believe they shouldn't have put in the initial selection criteria, and accepted the delay.

The first rule when you find yourself in a deep hole like this it to stop digging. It will be an expensive lesson for DOD - I just wish that THEY rather than the taxpayers were going to pay for it.

Anonymous said...

Of course, there are currently only 19 airfields in the world besides NYC that have the weight bearing capacity in their runways and taxiways, as well as the wingtip clearance in taxiways and parking areas to permit the A380 to fly in and out of them. You might want to scratch Bangkok Airport from that list. Despite theoretically being capable, they ran into a building on their promotional tour there.

Well, there's spin and then there's outright deception.

The A380 has lighter runway and taxiway loading than a 747,777-300ER and 777-200LR.

Any airport with ICAO cat-F gates can take the A380. The only issue is turning angle on some taxiways.

By the end of 2006, the A380 had already flown in to 38 airports around the World, so where does your 19 come from?

737s regularly ding wingtips at airports - are they all too big as well? ;-)

Anonymous said...

THis EADS pr campain is a real pain over on FR we have a few who you can show them articles that prove the content of the KC-767 is 85% made in the USA but they still don't get it. If it comes from Boeing its PR. if you post another source its hogwash. THen they slam you if you work on boeing airplanes or current usaf crew members. I would ask anyon who has direct facts and figures to come over to register and help us patriots fight back with the truth facts and end this
contiuous slamming of a great aircraft builder and a better tanker.

Tanker CC

Anonymous said...

I can see it now.....the 380 vs the 747. Someone please help us!

BTW, the TWB team needs to come back from vacation, there is too much going on right now with the bid to be silent.

George Hanshaw said...

An interesting article, this:

EADS, having sold the A400M aircraft as a replacement for the obsolete (never was much good either) Transall some years ago has not been able to deliver. The theory was the A400M would replace the Lockheed C-130 aircraft for those governments not requiring the heavy lift capability of the C-17. Worse yet, they are now threatening their buyers stating that if the buyers actually press for the damages GUARANTEED THEM IN THE CONTRACTS, they may renege on building the aircraft altogether.

Wise people whould not do business with such people.

George Hanshaw said...

Problems continue for EADS with their A400M program:
With 180 aircraft ordered for years, the delays in this program are so severe that it appears that virtually all customers will be invoking the penalty payouts that were an integral part of the contract. The problem is that EADS really can't afford those payments, what with the ongoing delays and penalty payments for the A380 and the struggle to find the engineering talent to get the long-promised A350XWB on line.

Apparently the going in plan was simply to renege on the contract, under threat of cancelling the whole program and REALLY leaving customers holding the bag if the customers balked. But the customers, particularly the German MOD balked at accepting those terms, threatening retribution of their own. The fallback position now appears to be to try to get the engine manufacturer to pay the penalties.

Of course, this is causing rancor with a manufacturer whose cooperation EADS desperately needs.

It is apparent that EADS has significantly over promised and under delivered, and even before the current worldwide tightening of credit, was overextended, both financially and in terms of available aeronautical engineering talent.

Kind of makes you wonder about their management's ability to manage in a world where their governments may not be able to supply infinite "launch money" to keep them liquid.