KC-X revisited

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Verbal
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Re: KC-X revisited

Postby Verbal » Mon Mar 08, 2010 7:43 pm

Northrop to skip tanker bid, EADS mulls going solo
Mon Mar 8, 2010 1:55pm EST

WASHINGTON/PARIS, March 8 (Reuters) - Northrop Grumman Corp plans to announce on Monday that it will not compete for the U.S. Air Force's multibillion-dollar aerial tanker contract, forcing Airbus parent EADS to decide whether it will submit a solo bid, according to sources closely following the issue.

Northrop spokesman Randy Belote declined comment, saying his company would announce a decision when it finished analyzing the Air Force's final request for proposals (RFP).

EADS officials in Paris and Washington also declined comment.

But sources briefed on the decision said Northrop had told EADS it would not bid, forcing EADS to consider its options, including possibly bidding for the work without Northrop despite continuing reservations about how the competition is structured. They said an announcement was expected after the close of the U.S. stock market.

The sources declined to be identified since they were not authorized to speak on the record.
"If they don't see big money, they don't want to do anything," said one European defense source in describing Northrop's decision.

Northrop and EADS won the last competition in February 2008 with an Airbus A330-based tanker plane, but the deal, valued at around $35 billion, was later canceled after government auditors upheld a Boeing Co protest.

Northrop told the Pentagon in December it would not submit a bid in this follow-on competition unless there were significant changes to the Air Force's draft rules, which it said clearly favored Boeing's smaller 767 airplane.

EADS, anxious to add to its defense portfolio and gain a bigger foothold in the United States, has been backing a new bid by Northrop, a European source told Reuters last week. (Reporting by Andrea Shalal-Esa and Tim Hepher in Paris)
http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSN0818811020100308
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Re: KC-X revisited

Postby Robert Hilton » Mon Mar 08, 2010 7:44 pm

Are you Gabriel?
Would you like the long or the short answer?

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Re: KC-X revisited

Postby Robert Hilton » Mon Mar 08, 2010 7:51 pm

Thanks for the updates Verbal.
Not really a surprise, but it is a shame. I hope it's not another prima donna act to raise the odds.
Still think the KC45 would be a better choice, especially later in it's working life. It's not an AvB thing, I just think it will.
I can appreciate your not quite agreeing with me on this.

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Re: KC-X revisited

Postby Verbal » Mon Mar 08, 2010 8:06 pm

Neither the 767 nor the A330 are exactly spring chickens. Regardless, military acquisition programs of this kind tend to shy away from the latest-and-greatest because of the risks involved. What counts more to them is a design that is proven, not which one shows the best CASM as a commercial platform.

And just because right now I am sitting a couple hundred meters from where the KC-767 would be built doesn't mean I favor it. :D As a U.S. taxpayer, I want the best warfighter for our money!
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Re: KC-X revisited

Postby Robert Hilton » Mon Mar 08, 2010 8:35 pm

And just because right now I am sitting a couple hundred meters from where the KC-767 would be built doesn't mean I favor it. :D As a U.S. taxpayer, I want the best warfighter for our money!
Well we can certainly agree on that.

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Re: KC-X revisited

Postby David Hilditch » Mon Mar 08, 2010 8:56 pm

Does anyone think that the mission is being redefined to match the airframe, rather than the best airframe being purchased to fulfill the mission ?

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Re: KC-X revisited

Postby flyboy2548m » Mon Mar 08, 2010 9:06 pm

Does anyone think that the mission is being redefined to match the airframe, rather than the best airframe being purchased to fulfill the mission ?
I'm guessing you do.
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Re: KC-X revisited

Postby Verbal » Mon Mar 08, 2010 10:04 pm

Does anyone think that the mission is being redefined to match the airframe, rather than the best airframe being purchased to fulfill the mission ?
Tinfoil hat alert!
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Re: KC-X revisited

Postby Robert Hilton » Tue Mar 09, 2010 5:30 am

Does anyone think that the mission is being redefined to match the airframe, rather than the best airframe being purchased to fulfill the mission ?
There is an element of that, the USAF is now being understandably cautious in making the correct (political) choice.
The 767 was what they were after to start with. Boeing is trying very hard to deflect from the controversy surrounding that deal.They are also working all out to boost their own standing in the tanker world whilst coming up with all sorts 'reasons' why the KC45 is totally wrong. The 40 billion extra fuel bill for the KC45 being one of the least plausible.

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Re: KC-X revisited

Postby David Hilditch » Tue Mar 09, 2010 11:10 am

Well, if they want a smaller airframe, as they say they do, why couldn't they go for the A310 MRTT, which is at least in operational service ?

Also, what is the rationale for the 787 flightdeck/cockpit ? Doesn't that add to the cost and considerably increase the risk of further delay ? What is the objective here - a tanker system for the USAF or a job preservation program for Boeing ?

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Re: KC-X revisited

Postby flyboy2548m » Tue Mar 09, 2010 1:38 pm

Also, what is the rationale for the 787 flightdeck/cockpit ? Doesn't that add to the cost and considerably increase the risk of further delay ? What is the objective here - a tanker system for the USAF or a job preservation program for Boeing ?
Why does it have to be either or?
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Re: KC-X revisited

Postby Verbal » Tue Mar 09, 2010 6:06 pm

Well, if they want a smaller airframe, as they say they do, why couldn't they go for the A310 MRTT, which is at least in operational service ?
I believe the A310 is out of production. It is almost impossible to restart production after everything has been shut down. And don't you think Northrup/EADS would have been smart enough to bid a smaller A310-based tanker once they saw that was the direction the contract was going, and if they really had an A310 to offer?
Also, what is the rationale for the 787 flightdeck/cockpit ? Doesn't that add to the cost and considerably increase the risk of further delay ? What is the objective here - a tanker system for the USAF or a job preservation program for Boeing ?
Hey, why not let's have both tankers and jobs! They don't have to be mutually exclusive.

Seriously though, jobs would have been created regardless of who got awarded the contract. With Boeing, it is jobs in Washington and Kansas; with Northrup/EADS, it would have been jobs in Alabama. And I am sure you noticed that the lawmakers from the respective constituencies bellowed all the correct blather as to why the tanker from their state was clearly the best choice for the Air Force, for the taxpayers, for the country's security, blah blah blah. The political grandstanding in Congress, with all the expected playing-to-the-cheap-seats, was rampant on both sides of the argument.

As for the 787 based cockpit, I have no clue why they are going in that direction.
Does anyone think that the mission is being redefined to match the airframe, rather than the best airframe being purchased to fulfill the mission ?
I assume you are insinuating a repeat of the Sears/Druyun fiasco that scuttled Tanker 1.0. If this is the case, I want names. Actually, your statement above could easily apply to the outcome of Tanker 2.0. You will recall that was when Boeing asked the Air Force if they preferred a 767 or 777 based platform, and the Air Force basically said, "Of course we want the smaller airplane. Don't be daft." Then, when the contract went to the A330 platform, the Air Force publicly stated that they liked it because it was bigger.

Anyway David, I assure you that this military contract will mean business as usual for Boeing. That is, the Pentagon will send a big truck full of money to Boeing, who will then send it all over to the commercial side of the house, where they will use it to develop new airliners, install hot tubs in the executive suites, and pay for all the high class hookers. Regards.
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Re: KC-X revisited

Postby Robert Hilton » Tue Mar 09, 2010 6:10 pm

It's good to see all that money wont go to waste.

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Re: KC-X revisited

Postby Verbal » Tue Mar 09, 2010 6:14 pm

It's good to see all that money wont go to waste.
Concur. I have already called dibs on the tall brunette.
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Re: KC-X revisited

Postby Ancient Mariner » Tue Mar 09, 2010 7:59 pm

Thanks for the updates Verbal.
Not really a surprise, but it is a shame. I hope it's not another prima donna act to raise the odds.
Still think the KC45 would be a better choice, especially later in it's working life. It's not an AvB thing, I just think it will.
I can appreciate your not quite agreeing with me on this.

Probably not, EADS pulled out of the competition when Norway skewed the spec's towards the Joint Strike Phighter. They were serious. Why waste money when corruption, be it of the socialist or capitalist kind, rules? Sweet stink of victory, methinks.
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Re: KC-X revisited

Postby Marc 1 » Thu Mar 11, 2010 10:49 pm

Does anyone think that the mission is being redefined to match the airframe, rather than the best airframe being purchased to fulfill the mission ?
Yes. Add that to the fact that Boeing as the losing bidder in the last competition (still not sure why this would be the case) was shown all the pricing behind the NG/EADS bid, whereas the reverse was not the case. Boeing then could spec the aircraft to have a lower breakeven cost than the NG bid this time around to ensure they undercut their rivals. A massive advantage given the new RFP is looking at a fixed cost bid, without the wriggle room the last bid provided. NG was facing millions of dollars wasted competing against a competitor that had the unfair advantage of knowing NG's costs, and against an RFP that gave no bonus points for exceeding parameters as the last RFP did. NG/EADS did the only smart thing, they have cut their losses, so the US taxpayer gets a 'competition' involving one 'competitor'. That should be good for keeping the price down... ;)

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Re: KC-X revisited

Postby David Hilditch » Sun Mar 14, 2010 10:55 am

Well, if they want a smaller airframe, as they say they do, why couldn't they go for the A310 MRTT, which is at least in operational service ?
I believe the A310 is out of production...............
Well, that's partly my original point. Back in the period of the earlier contract proposal (say, 2004 to 2008-ish) I thought that the USAF had decided that the KC-45/A330 was the better overall proposition. And this was also supported by many independent sources. Yes, I know the A310 production line is closed (and that all A310 MRTTs are conversions), but the last A300 came off the line only in 2007. So I presume NG/EADS did not pursue the A310 option because the USAF indicated it generally preferred the larger airframe (more fuel, more troops, more cargo, more modern), despite the higher cost.

So, of course, under the new proposal they changed the mission to reflect the 767 airframe (mainly, I presume, because it was cheaper). Plus what Marc1 said. It just boils down to the worst form of protectionism (worst, because it is political), and so you see why Airbus/EADS has been so determined over the years to counter those specious American claims of "subsidies".

From what I read (and it may be exaggerated, but usually where there’s smoke etc……), the existing 767 tanker deals with Italy and Japan are seriously delayed or the equipment is not working properly, or both. Now, on top of that, they decide to bastardize the thing with a new wing, a 787 flightdeck and who knows what else. That sounds like a real recipe for on-time in-service delivery. EADS has an opening here perhaps to tout the A400 to the American military, especially given that the balance of mutual military sales between the US and Europe is substantially in favor of the US.

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Re: KC-X revisited

Postby supersean » Tue Mar 16, 2010 6:11 pm

Is this process ever going to end?


http://blog.seattlepi.com/aerospace/arc ... blog_last3


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Re: KC-X revisited

Postby Princess Leia » Sat Mar 20, 2010 8:12 pm

OOOH! Now the Russians want to bid with the IL-96. This should be fun!
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Re: KC-X revisited

Postby Robert Hilton » Sat Mar 20, 2010 9:41 pm

OOOH! Now the Russians want to bid with the IL-96. This should be fun!
Would you happen to have a link by chance?

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Re: KC-X revisited

Postby Princess Leia » Sun Mar 21, 2010 1:37 am

Yep.

http://www.france24.com/en/20100319-rus ... orporation

Let's see if 4 P&W engines plus developing their own boom from scratch (unless they buy it from EAD$) will be cheaper than a 767. Can they even produce that amount? 179 aircraft is at least 3 times the total production so far.
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Re: KC-X revisited

Postby supersean » Thu Mar 25, 2010 1:02 am

Yep.

http://www.france24.com/en/20100319-rus ... orporation

Let's see if 4 P&W engines plus developing their own boom from scratch (unless they buy it from EAD$) will be cheaper than a 767. Can they even produce that amount? 179 aircraft is at least 3 times the total production so far.
Shirley the Russians must have A2A refueling capabilities & technologies to leverage. Even if the story is bogus... it is doable!
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Re: KC-X revisited

Postby Verbal » Thu Mar 25, 2010 4:50 am

The Russians do have the capability. And stop calling me Shirley.
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Re: KC-X revisited

Postby Sabre » Fri Aug 06, 2010 5:14 am

OOOH! Now the Russians want to bid with the IL-96. This should be fun!
Oops, I guess we won't have Russian tankers
Air Force tanker bid thrown out for arriving 5 minutes late

Washington (CNN) -- What may be the most contentious Pentagon contract is the focus of yet another fight, with this round centered on whether a bid for a $35 billion contract should be thrown out because it arrived five minutes late.

For about a decade the Air Force has been trying to replace its fleet of KC-135 air refueling tankers, the big jets that act as flying gas stations for warplanes.

In the latest attempt, three companies wanted to submit bids to build the KC-X, the next generation of tankers; Boeing, EADS and US Aerospace.

Each company's bid was required to be submitted to an office at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, by 2 p.m. July 9.

Boeing and EADS got their bids into the office with time to spare. US Aerospace said its bid arrived at Wright-Patterson half an hour before the deadline. The Defense Department said it was five minutes late.

US Aerospace is a new company that is in partnership with Antonov, a state-owned Ukrainian aircraft manufacturer that used to build planes for the Soviet Union's military and now specializes in building very large aircraft.

Because of the late arrival of the bid, the Defense Department will not consider US Aerospace's proposal, according to Pentagon chief spokesman Geoff Morrell.
Complete Article

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Re: KC-X revisited

Postby Sickbag » Tue Aug 10, 2010 1:49 pm

Air Force tanker bid thrown out for arriving 5 minutes late

if only they sent the bid by flying donkey :cry:
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