DVD Talk
USAF tanker deal hearings [Archive] - DVD Talk Forum

PDA

View Full Version : USAF tanker deal hearings


nemein
03-05-08, 10:25 AM
What a cluster this whole thing has become. First there was the whole flap about whether the tankers should be leased or purchased and now this.

http://money.cnn.com/2008/03/05/news/boeing_tanker.ap/index.htm?section=money_latest
Air Force to testify on tanker deal
Boeing demands explanation for loss of tanker contract to European rival; two Air Force officials will make case on Capitol Hill on Wednesday.
March 5 2008: 7:16 AM EST


WASHINGTON (AP) -- Two top Air Force acquisition officials will testify on Capitol Hill on Wednesday to explain why they passed over Boeing Co. to award a massive $35 billion aerial refueling tanker contract to its French rival.

They won't lack for an interested audience. Since the contract was awarded Friday, lawmakers, governors, union leaders and Boeing (BA, Fortune 500) executives have demanded an explanation for why the incumbent contractor lost to European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co., the maker of Airbus planes, and its U.S. partner, Northrop Grumman Corp. of Los Angeles.

Sue Payton and Lt. Gen. John L. "Jack" Hudson will testify before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense following last week's surprise, backlash-inducing decision. In states where Boeing would have built the planes, the outrage and the output of statements denouncing the Air Force's decision were considerable.

Sens. Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray, both Democrats from Washington, Sens. Sam Brownback and Pat Roberts, both Republicans from Kansas, are among the lawmakers who sent a letter to top Pentagon officials requesting an Air Force briefing this week. And the Kansas congressional delegation on Tuesday asked Defense Secretary Robert Gates to suspend its award of the tanker contract until Congress can review the decision.

Chicago-based Boeing, which has been supplying air-to-air refueling tankers to the Air Force for nearly 50 years, had been widely expected to win the deal.

The contract to build up to 179 tankers is the first of three Air Force awards worth as much $100 billion to replace its entire refueling tanker fleet over the next 30 years. To top of page

I have the hearing going on in the background and if I heard correctly there is supposedly an act/law that says in some issues some European companies should be considered as US companies for the decision of who can compete. Does anyone know about this and whether it is true? Seems kind of silly (at best) to drag people before a committee for following the law. There's also been a lot of accusations about things changing last minute that seem to be unfounded, as well as almost outright accusations that the witnesses are lying. Overall it's been a pretty pathetic performance by most of the members (who mostly seem to represent areas that lost out) which I guess explains their overall approval rating. It would also be interesting to see if there is any overlap between those members who are "outraged" (my word) about this deal and those who accuse Bush of being unilateral and pushing away our allies.

With all that said, there are some interesting questions coming up in the hearing and about the deal in general. It seems the parent company (EADS) has pulled some tricks in the past, promised to build some equipment on a previous contract here in the US but then pulled those jobs back to France once the contract was awarded. Not to mention some possible dealings w/ Iran in the past, and the fact it seems all they have is a prototype of what they proposed whereas Boeing has a final product ready (if I'm hearing things correctly). As I said this is quite a cluster -ohbfrank-

Venusian
03-05-08, 10:31 AM
Boeing also had shady dealing with the C130 AMP program in the past, iirc.

Shouldn't the contract go to the best airplane at the cheapest price no matter where the company is based?

There is a law outthere that say a certain % of the material has to be from the U.S. It has caused problems with importing processors from Taiwan in the past...can't remember the name now...I wonder if that'd be an issue

VinVega
03-05-08, 10:59 AM
Shouldn't the contract go to the best airplane at the cheapest price no matter where the company is based?
In most cases and in this case, yes.

Dave99
03-05-08, 11:35 AM
From what I've read, the boeing plane is the cheaper option, but is also less capable. Northrop apparently really sold the air force on the idea that their plane could do more (more cargo, better range, faster refueling etc), but all that exceeded what the air force was looking for originally (boeing just came up with what they said they wanted). I do have a problem with the decision in general though. I just can't see, in times of huge trade deficits & bordering on a serious recession, that the air force thought it would be a good idea to award a massive project like this to a foreign firm.

al_bundy
03-05-08, 11:38 AM
Airbus agreed to build the plane in Alabama or some place around there and move the civilian A330 production there as well. to safeguard military secrets Northrop will do the military part of the work and Airbus will simply build the base aircraft

and things like this have been done before. M1 tanks have Chobham armor which is named for the village of Chobham in England where it was invented in a British lab. other parts of the M1 including the main gun were from other NATO countries. a major military communications system was bought from France as well around 20 years ago

anyone remember when the dollar was super strong against all the other currencies and there was a huge push to outsource stuff to other countries? now that the dollar is weak airbus will save a lot of money moving production to the US

keyed
03-05-08, 03:04 PM
From what I've read, the boeing plane is the cheaper option, but is also less capable. Northrop apparently really sold the air force on the idea that their plane could do more (more cargo, better range, faster refueling etc), but all that exceeded what the air force was looking for originally (boeing just came up with what they said they wanted). I do have a problem with the decision in general though. I just can't see, in times of huge trade deficits & bordering on a serious recession, that the air force thought it would be a good idea to award a massive project like this to a foreign firm.
I believe you're mistaken if you think a Boeing plane would be American. Admittedly the source is a bit biased as it's a Northrop spokesman.
``All modern jetliners are built from a global supplier base,'' Belote said. ``The Boeing tanker includes parts manufactured in Japan, United Kingdom, Canada and Italy. The Northrop Grumman tanker includes parts built in the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain and France.''

Dave99
03-05-08, 03:42 PM
I believe you're mistaken if you think a Boeing plane would be American. Admittedly the source is a bit biased as it's a Northrop spokesman.
Of course they use global suppliers for various pieces. But I'd wager the boeing plane would keep more jobs in the US than airbus, and the profits from the deal stay here vs being shipped off to EADS.

RayChuang
03-05-08, 09:53 PM
Because the KC-45A and the A330-200F freighter are very closely-related planes, I think it's likely that once the Mobile, AL production line starts EADS will assemble a large fraction of A330-200F production there, too.

And the A330-200F production won't be a small production run, either, when you consider the following:

1. DHL, FedEx, TNT N.V. and UPS will need to replace their short to medium range cargo planes over the next 20 years.

2. NATO air forces will need a modern tanker to replace a mish-mash of aging planes over the next 15 years. For example, the RAF VC-10 and L1011 tanker fleet is starting to age, and parts availability is starting to become an issue for both planes, especially with many civilian L1011's being scrapped in the past few years.

3. The increasing crackdown by African and Middle Eastern authorities over the use of ex-Soviet era airplanes for cargo transport could open up a huge market for A330-200F sales in Africa and the Middle East.

DVD Polizei
03-05-08, 10:35 PM
It's just about politicians wanting to appear like they actually are concerned about American jobs. If it was a non-election year, this would be page 27 news right under a caption of Pete Rose getting an enema.

GreenMonkey
03-06-08, 01:19 PM
If the price difference here is small or marginal, wouldn't it make sense to spend the money here in the U.S., keep more jobs in the U.S., and give the profits to a U.S. company?

And personally I've always been uncomfortable with outsourcing too much of our military design and production to other countries. I prefer self-reliance a bit more when it comes to defense.

I guess it depends on how much cheaper the contract was vs Boeing. I could go both ways on this. If they saved a lot of money, then yeah, makes sense. But if they saved like 2%...it seems like a bad decision to me.

ANDREMIKE
03-06-08, 02:33 PM
Northrop Grumman Responds to Inaccurate Comments Concerning the U.S. Air Force KC-45A Award Decision


LOS ANGELES - March 5, 2008 - When the process to replace America's aging fleet of KC-135 aerial refueling tankers began in 2005, the U.S. Air Force made clear that it wanted a full and fair competition. Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) entered the competition with the understanding that if its proposal provided the best value to the warfighter and the American taxpayer, it could win the contract.


Since the Air Force's decision to award Northrop Grumman the KC-45A contract was announced, numerous erroneous comments have been repeated in the media and in Congress. In response, the company wants to make the following points clear:



Industrial Base
* The Northrop Grumman KC-45A tanker program will create a new
aerospace manufacturing corridor in the southeastern United States.
* The KC-45A program helps return competitiveness to the U.S.
aerospace industry.

Jobs
* The Northrop Grumman KC-45A tanker program does not transfer any
jobs from the United States to France or any other foreign country.
* The KC-45A tanker will support more than 25,000 jobs in the United
States.
* The KC-45A U.S. supplier base will include 230 companies in 49
states.
* Assembly and militarization of the KC-45A tanker will take place in
Mobile, Ala., resulting in the creation of approximately 2,000 direct
jobs in the United States.

Acquisition Process
* The KC-45A competition underwent the most rigorous, transparent
acquisition process in U.S. Department of Defense history.
* Throughout the process, both competitors in the KC-45A acquisition
hailed the Air Force for conducting a fair and open competition.

Foreign Content
* All modern jetliners are built from a global supplier base and the
two entrants in the KC-45A competition are no exception. The Boeing
tanker includes parts manufactured in Japan, United Kingdom, Canada
and Italy. The Northrop Grumman tanker includes parts built in the
United Kingdom, Germany, Spain and France.
* The Northrop Grumman KC-45A will include approximately 60 percent
U.S. content. It is America's tanker.

Foreign Suppliers to U.S. Military Programs
* There are numerous examples of transatlantic cooperation on vital
U.S. military programs. Foreign suppliers currently play essential
roles in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and the VH-71 Presidential
Helicopter. In fact, on the C-27J Joint Cargo Aircraft program,
Boeing is responsible for producing the Alenia Aeronautica (Italy)
aircraft in Jacksonville, Fla.
* No sensitive military technology will be exported to Europe. For
the KC-45A program, a commercial A330 jetliner will be assembled by
American workers in EADS's facility in Mobile. The aircraft will
then undergo military conversion in an adjacent Northrop Grumman
facility. All of the KC-45A's critical military technology will be
added by an American company, Northrop Grumman, in America, in
Mobile Ala.

nemein
03-06-08, 02:36 PM
In response, the company wants to make the following points clear:


-ohbfrank- They should know by now you NEVER let facts get in the way of a good passionate argument... Look at the World Ports case, the fact that fell through was completely to do w/ people playing politics and very little to do w/ the security aspects of the situation.

classicman2
03-06-08, 03:41 PM
Sen. Murray has been 'discussing' the deal on the floor of the U.S. Senate.

Sdallnct
03-06-08, 11:54 PM
Of course they use global suppliers for various pieces. But I'd wager the boeing plane would keep more jobs in the US than airbus, and the profits from the deal stay here vs being shipped off to EADS.

I never understood this thought "profits stay here". You really feel the CEO of Boeing needs more money?

It is like the arguement that buying a Honda even tho built in Ohio is bad. They are American workers with american parts getting paid in US $$, paying US taxes, buy US groceries and US houses. Who cares if the final couple % of profits ends up in the hands of the CEO of GM or Honda?

DVD Polizei
03-07-08, 12:51 AM
-ohbfrank- They should know by now you NEVER let facts get in the way of a good passionate argument... Look at the World Ports case, the fact that fell through was completely to do w/ people playing politics and very little to do w/ the security aspects of the situation.

Actually, I don't have much of a problem with this deal--other than we better see results.

The other "deal" I had concerns about. The US Coast Guard raised issues in the UAE ports takeover, which is far from "They are a front for FRANCE!" arguments we hear from the anti-Northrop Grumman deal.

And why isn't Bush coming to the aid of this deal? Because after all, the US needs to buy a more expensive tanker. :lol: That's what we're all about. Overpriced product that underperforms.

In effect, what many politicians are telling the US Taxpayer, is that we should pay more for less. Maybe they have future plans of being Boeing consultants.

Sdallnct
03-07-08, 10:08 AM
Actually, I don't have much of a problem with this deal--other than we better see results.



Are you saying if it had going to Boeing it would ok if they didn't show results? That if you give this to a foreign company that should be held at a higher standard?

If the purpose is to get a tanker that is effective at a good price then, the bid should be open to anyone.

If the purpose is to save Boeing or other American companies, then sure give them the contract. And don't bother bidding, just give to them. I'm not being sarcastic, I have no problem with doing it. Just say like it is and do. Since GM is having troubles lately if the Fed's decided to get all new cars and decided to go with GM to help them out while the feds more or less get what they want, I got no problem with that. Course Ford might.

Dave99
03-07-08, 02:12 PM
I never understood this thought "profits stay here". You really feel the CEO of Boeing needs more money?

It is like the arguement that buying a Honda even tho built in Ohio is bad. They are American workers with american parts getting paid in US $$, paying US taxes, buy US groceries and US houses. Who cares if the final couple % of profits ends up in the hands of the CEO of GM or Honda?

I don't care if honda or GM or IBM does it. I care when our military does it, especially on such a massive contract. And sure, some of the profit goes to the execs of boeing. Who will probably spend a good portion of it here, get taxed on it here, and leave the rest of it in their wills to american relatives who will go spend it here etc...

X
03-07-08, 02:20 PM
I never understood this thought "profits stay here". You really feel the CEO of Boeing needs more money? Unless the CEO of Boeing owns all the Boeing stock and distributes all the corporation's profits to himself as dividends, that isn't how it works. American corporations pay American taxes. Foreign corporations pay taxes in their respective countries. CEOs get salaries and stock options and bonuses.

DVD Polizei
03-07-08, 07:49 PM
Are you saying if it had going to Boeing it would ok if they didn't show results? That if you give this to a foreign company that should be held at a higher standard?

If the purpose is to get a tanker that is effective at a good price then, the bid should be open to anyone.

If the purpose is to save Boeing or other American companies, then sure give them the contract. And don't bother bidding, just give to them. I'm not being sarcastic, I have no problem with doing it. Just say like it is and do. Since GM is having troubles lately if the Fed's decided to get all new cars and decided to go with GM to help them out while the feds more or less get what they want, I got no problem with that. Course Ford might.

I think you mistunderstood my post. ANY contractor, I don't give a fuck who it is--I wanna see results. The US Gov't has a history of just letting projects extend with no real tests until it's too late. I would hope the USAF will keep themselves and the US public, updated.

Save Boeing or other companies? Fuck no. I'm getting tired of Corporate Welfare. All it does is reward failure and retardation. You wanna talk about Socialism at its worst, well, there it is.


Content Relevant URLs by vBSEO 3.2.0