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Gocad

US tanker contract annoucement this week

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According to CNN (link) the US Air Force will annouce this week which bid has been selected.

 

It has been a more or less fierce competition, with one company (Boeing) arguing that this contract would save numerous jobs, whereas the other (EADS, in cooperation with Northrop) promised to create lots of new jobs, as it would manufacture its aircraft (based on the A330) in the US.

 

Sure, it wouldn't be the first time for EADS to win a large manufacturing contract in the states (anybody wants to buy a Lakota?), but on the on the other hand Boeing's defense section seems to be in trouble (no new fighter contracts, the C-17 program won't run much longer either) recently.

 

Of course, there's also the question which aircraft is better suited for replacing the KC-135.

 

So, who do you think will make it?

Edited by Gocad

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I hope Boeing wins, don't even know what airframe its basing it on but I hope its the 767. I like 767s.

 

Off topic, can anyone point me to a place where I can read the reasoning for buying the Lakota please. I fail to understand why the Army is buying into another airframe, what benefits versus increased maintenance can it provide?

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More like "which company will be filing its protest over the award this week?"

I think neither plane is ideal. The 767 is too old to start with NOW and the Airbus is too large compared to the 135s it's replacing. We won't be able to get enough at that size.

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and the Airbus is too large compared to the 135s it's replacing. We won't be able to get enough at that size.

the argument of course then goes that you need fewer to do the same job (& it's a shrinking AF anyway) ...

 

The UAE just officially ordered Airbus tankers this week, not that that will have any influenc on the USAF decision.

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We have trouble with the 135 fleet being stretched too thin right now because there aren't enough! They need them in more places, not to carry more where they are. In fact, if there was something smaller than a 767 available I'd say THAT would be probably the better bet.

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Smaller than a 767? how big is a 777 or a 787?

 

Smaller wouldn't be as capable as KC135 in tanking though, right?

 

What is the Air Force requirement anyway?

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& the USAF has announced that it's buying Northrop/Airbus ...

 

Wait for the howls & the inevitable appeal from Boeing.

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Hell no this isnt over. I mean Boeing had the 767 all set up. Another f*** up by the USAF.

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It's a bit funny, though. Prior the decision it had been said that KC-30 (Northop/EADS' bid) had no chance because it's larger and costs more than the KC-767. Now the USAF states that they have chosen the KC-30 because of its size...

 

There is of course another aspect. Airbus has in fact suffered for quite some time because of the Euro/Dollar exchange rate, since they do pay their bills in Euro, but the prices of their aircrafts are listed in US Dollar. Thus I do think that once they have the KC-X contract for sure (and I do think that this far from being certain at the moment) it will accelerate the relocation of the Airbus production to the United States...

Edited by Gocad

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Wow, talk about screw up! I bet pilot transition will be harder now too!

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Hell no this isnt over. I mean Boeing had the 767 all set up.

Apparently Airbus was adjudged better in 4 out of 5 categories & equal on the 5th ...

 

The 767 has been losing out for some time on the civil market - Boeing were basically looking to the USAF to keep the line alive as no one else is buying it anymore.

The Italian/Japanese 767 tanker programme (basically the test case for the USAF programme) had run into a lot of problems - in fact they only just got certified the other day, several years behind schedule.

Meantime Airbus' tanker programme had progressed cleanly.

 

Given that there is also to be a follow on aircraft down the line it's also possible that they looked at the civil market where Airbus policy of keeping cockpits/systems very similar between aircraft has made it easier/cheaper for pilots to retrain for a new one.

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Nah I would blame Boeing for not doing it right. You figure if the Japanese are having issues, much less the Italians, it has to say something. The fact that an European company got it done better oh well, shows to work hard at making it happen than just keeping something around. Look at the Super Hornet. Sure it's maneuverable, has alot of pylons, but it's a lemon. Maybe the selection of Northrup/EADS will allow Boeing to focus it's energy on improving what it's got, then it'll probably get more fighter contracts.

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Smaller than a 767? how big is a 777 or a 787?

 

Smaller wouldn't be as capable as KC135 in tanking though, right?

 

What is the Air Force requirement anyway?

 

 

You may not realize how small a KC-135 actually is. It's dwarfed by a 767. The 787 will replace the 767, but it's obviously not ready to be made into a tanker any time soon. The 777 is even bigger than the Airbus by a good bit as well.

 

Anyway, the protest will happen no matter what, hopefully the USAF got its crap together well enough that it won't take too long.

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Anyway, the protest will happen no matter what, hopefully the USAF got its crap together well enough that it won't take too long.

 

Quoted from the Boeing statement:

"Obviously we are very disappointed with this outcome. We believe that we offered the Air Force the best value and lowest risk tanker for its mission. Our next step is to request and receive a debrief from the Air Force. Once we have reviewed the details behind the award, we will make a decision concerning our possible options, keeping in mind at all times the impact to the warfighter and our nation."

 

Sounds like it, but then again the last part sounds like they don't want to delay the program much further. And I doubt that NorthropGrumman or the representatives of the states that would profit from NG/EADS' getting the contract would not protest also against an attempt by Boeing to overturn this decision...

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The 767 was always at a disadvantage (apart from it's practically universally inferior performance) because the 767 is reaching the end of its life and noone's buying it anymore (unless you count the handful of tankers for Italy or whatever, which mean nothing). The A330, on the other hand, has a huge order book, assuring cheap support and spare parts for decades.

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Thats just pathetic, I'm not suprised that they're caving into to the nationalism pressure. Yet another reason to dislike Boeing.

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wonderful....

 

the plane that would cost less and deliver more fuel further away from its forwarding operating base no longer is the winner.

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I do understand where Boeing is coming from. If you're told you'll be judged by a certain set of conditions but are actually judged by a DIFFERENT set of conditions (which is all the GAO really seems to have said--that there was inconsistency), that's not really on the up-and-up. As far as which tanker is actually the better way to go, I won't say, I leave that as an exercise for the student. :grin:

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