Air Force Tanker controversy

Discussion in 'General Military Arms & History Forum' started by hkruss, Sep 27, 2009.

  1. hkruss

    hkruss Active Member

    Mar 13, 2008
    Mobile, Al.
    Any of you guys keeping up with this?

    Since 2001, the Air Force has sought a new aerial tanker to replace the current fleet of KC-135's. All of these aircraft are over 50 years old and our Air Force deserves better, more capable aircraft. (yeah, I know, so are all the B-52's, but maybe that will be a different thread).
    So far, the first attempt at finding a replacement aircraft fell through when corruption was discovered in the bidding process (and a couple of folks went to jail over it). The second attempt seemed to be finalized when Northrup-Grumman/EADS was awarded the contract last year. Boeing, the other competitor protested the bidding process and the contract was over turned. Now there is a new competition (and a new set of bidding rules) going on between the two companies. A decision is expected some time next year.
    Some lawmakers have proposed splitting the contract with both companies providing separate aircraft. (seems like a logistical nightmare in the making!).
    Hopefully, the bickering and politics can be put aside, and a fair resolution can be found so that the "Best Man" wins, and our Air Force gets the new tanker it so desperately needs.
    I would be interested in hearing any comments on this.
  2. These things go one with every acquisition. The more money, the more drama.

  3. RunningOnMT

    RunningOnMT New Member

    Nov 19, 2008
    Akron, Ohio
    I thought it was decided that a French company got the contract. I remember one thing during the campaign was when McCain was asked about it he made some statement to the effect that he wasn't concerned about 5,000 Boeing workers losing their jobs as long as the American people got their monies worth. That kinda irked me. I believe in capitalism, competition and the free market but not at the risk of American jobs, and when done by our own congress...they have a right and should be biased in favor of American companies IMO.
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2009
  4. hkruss

    hkruss Active Member

    Mar 13, 2008
    Mobile, Al.
    The French company you mention is EADS, parent company of Airbus. Northrup Grumman is partnering with EADS to make the aircraft here in America. As far as jobs, the figures I have read range from 25,000 to 48,000 created here in the U.S. - depends on if you use the Dept. of Commerce projections or those of the Dept. of Labor. This includes parts supplier jobs as well as approx. 2,000 here in Mobile where the aircraft would be assembled. Which ever company wins, stands to create a lot of jobs in America. But to say X number of jobs will be lost is not a fair argument to use. When bidding, one company wins, one loses.
    Yeah, I would love to see the positive economic impact it would have here, but more importantly, I want the Air Force to have the best aircraft (and soon!) which ever company wins.
    I must note how disheartening it is to see the lack of information or the disinformation that the American public has about this crucial aircraft. What bothers me even more is how politicians in states that have a large Boeing or Northrup Grumman presence, have tried to use their clout to sway Congress, the Dept. of Defense, and the Air Force to choose THEIR tanker design. I say, draw up the aircraft requirements, establish bidding rules, and then let the Air Force decide which is better.
  5. RunningOnMT

    RunningOnMT New Member

    Nov 19, 2008
    Akron, Ohio
    Very good points and informative to me. I also agree, the Air Force knows best what they need and should be the ones who decide with congress enforcing budget constraints. In other words...Air Force, you have this much to spend, you decide how to spend it.
  6. 300 H&H

    300 H&H Active Member

    Apr 1, 2007
    My brother is a Boeing engineer,

    And he told me the problems started over specs. that the Air Force provided. The design that Boing submitted, met those. The Air buss on the other hand did not, as it exceeded the specs in many ways. But some one at the Air Force procurment office decided they liked the "extras" that they had. Boeing could have bid a plane set up this way, but did not because they were not asked to do so. So the rules were changed during the bid proccess...not really a fair thing to do, especially when awarding a defence contract to a company located outside our borders. Personally I wish a US maker would have the only choices we should have. Especially for an important piece of military hardware.
    Regards, Kirk

    PS. His comments are regarding the "first" bid process.....
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2009
  7. Millwright

    Millwright Well-Known Member

    Jun 30, 2005
    WTF happened to the KC-10 "Extender" fleet we just bought ? >MW
  8. hkruss

    hkruss Active Member

    Mar 13, 2008
    Mobile, Al.
    You might be thinking of the 10 year maintenance and logistics contract for the KC-10 that was just awarded to Northrup Grumman. A very sizable contract indeed, but, no new aircraft were bought.

    They stopped making the KC-10 in 1987.
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