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Boeing NewGen Tanker  (Source: Boeing)
Boeing tanker uses flight deck from Dreamliner

One of the most lucrative military projects ever offered by the Pentagon is the contract to replace the aging fleet of flying tankers for the Air Force. The Air Force has been looking to replace the fleet of KC-135 aircraft with new and improved planes for years and the project has been a hotbed of controversy.

This week Boeing has announced that it will offer its NewGen Tanker to the Air Force in attempt to win the huge contract to replace the Air Force KC-135 fleet. Boeing has dubbed the new tanker "NewGen" because of the state of the art systems that are integrated to meet future mission requirements. These features include a digital flight deck taken from the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Boeing twists the knife in Northrop's back by adding that the screens in the NewGen tanker are 75% larger than those in the Airbus A330, on which Northrop's proposed tanker is based.

The Boeing NewGen tanker will also have a new generation fly-by-wire boom with an expanded refueling envelope and an increased fuel offload rate. Boeing also states that the aircraft will meet all Air Force requirements for refueling operations and reduced workload for crew. Boeing also reports that the NewGen Tanker provides full access to the unrestricted flight envelope of the aircraft to the crew rather than allowing the computer to limit combat maneuverability.

Boeing also claims that its aircraft will save taxpayers over $10 billion in fuel costs during the aircraft's 40-year service life thanks to the 24% fuel savings compared to similar aircraft. Boeing will deliver the proposal for the tanker by May 10, which is within the 75-day window that bidders have to turn in proposals for aircraft.

President and CEO of Boeing Defense Dennis Muilenburg said, "Having supplied tankers to the Air Force for the past 60 years, Boeing has drawn on its unmatched aerial-refueling experience to thoroughly review and evaluate the KC-X solicitation issued by the Air Force. We respect and understand the KC-X requirements, and appreciate the importance of this program for the United States and its warfighters. We intend to bid for the honor to work with our Air Force customer to replace the existing fleet of KC-135 aircraft with a new-generation, multi-role tanker in a fair and transparent acquisition process."

Northrop Grumman, EADS was originally granted the win for the lucrative contract worth an estimated $35 billion in March of 2008. The entire bid process seemed to be over until the other bidder for the contract -- Boeing -- filed a protest against the Northrop win claiming that the process used to award the contract to Northrop had "serious flaws" and the protest ultimately resulted in the biding and RFP process starting over.

In February 2010, the Pentagon released a new Request for Proposals (RFP) for the tanker aircraft and Northrop Grumman, EADS was not happy with the new proposals. According to the aircraft giant, the new RFP leaned so heavily towards the Boeing KC-767 proposal that there was little reason for Northrop to offer an aircraft in the bidding process. Northrop claimed that the new changes to the RFP made the Airbus A330-based KC-45A that it won the original RFP with financially unsuitable for the company. Northrop threatened to withdraw from the bidding process if changes weren’t made. The Pentagon stated if it only had one bidder for the tanker contract, it would continue with the process.

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By porkpie on 3/5/2010 10:41:20 AM , Rating: 2
Boeing also claims that its aircraft will save taxpayers over $10 billion in fuel costs during the aircraft's 40-year service life thanks to the 24% fuel savings
If a 24% fuel reduction equates to a $10B savings, that would mean we spend $1B a year just to fuel flying tankers...not even counting what we spend on the fuel for the planes they refill.

I can't see that this figure is credible, but its not my area of expertise. Anyone else want to shed some light on it?

RE: Hrmmm....
By TheDoc9 on 3/5/2010 10:50:48 AM , Rating: 1
I'm sure there's some magical accounting in there, probably 'expected cost of fuel' over the decades, ect.

RE: Hrmmm....
By lightfoot on 3/5/2010 11:53:30 AM , Rating: 5
As of 2006, the KC-135E fleet was flying an annual average of 350 hours per aircraft and the KC-135R fleet is flying an annual average of 710 hours per aircraft.

With over 500 KC-135 air craft in service and using 350 hours per year, that is 175,000 flight hours per year for these tankers. To burn $1 Billion in fuel per year, they would need to be burning up to 1,900 gallons of fuel per hour (at fuel prices of $3 per gallon.)

From what I can tell normal fuel burn for one of these aircraft is between 1,200 and 1,500 gallons per hour. This is assuming the useable fuel load of 50,000 lbs of fuel, with a fuel weight of 6.75 lbs/gal and a mission range of 1,500 miles (3,000 mile round-trip total) at a cruise speed of 530 nautical miles per hour - roughly estimated at a six hour flight time.

Long story short, unless I forgot to convert to $100 dollar bills, the estimate of $1 Billion in fuel costs per year seems quite reasonable.

RE: Hrmmm....
By porkpie on 3/5/2010 12:22:27 PM , Rating: 2
"Long story short, unless I forgot to convert to $100 dollar bills..."

Allusion taken. :)

Good analysis; it appears correct. The military doesn't pay fuel taxes, making Avgas substantially cheaper than $3/g...but any reasonable estimate of rising fuel costs over 40 years will certainly compensate for that. So I can't argue with either you or Boeing on the figure.

RE: Hrmmm....
By weskurtz0081 on 3/8/2010 9:13:01 AM , Rating: 2
The U.S. Military doesn't only use fuel from the United States, they buy it from all over the world depending on the location of the base and the air craft. So, even if they pay one price here, they might pay another somewhere else.

Also, they do end up paying less than commercial air liners in the U.S., but if you consider long term averages and I bet that $2.50-$3.00 would be pretty accurate.

RE: Hrmmm....
By TETRONG on 3/5/10, Rating: -1
RE: Hrmmm....
By lightfoot on 3/5/2010 2:00:56 PM , Rating: 3
The airline industry paid an average price of $3.068 per gallon for jet fuel in 2008 according to the US Department of Transportation. It is true that in 2009 that price dropped to $1.897 per gallon, but making a 40 year forcast for fuel costs should not use a recession year as the baseline.

RE: Hrmmm....
By Cascaderanger on 3/5/2010 10:04:14 PM , Rating: 2
Jet fuel is just basically high grade kerosene, w/ a few additives such as stabilizers. JP-4 or JP-5 probably don't cost nearly as much as the gasoline used in autos, even before the added taxes. It's great de-greaser; but will chew your skin up good.

RE: Hrmmm....
By marvdmartian on 3/8/2010 10:01:39 AM , Rating: 2
Actually, only the US Navy uses JP-5 jet fuel, which is closer to diesel in it's flash point and quality (think of it as "clean" diesel fuel). The US Air Force uses JP-8 fuel, which has a lower flash point (100F, versus 140F for JP5 & diesel), and is a much drier fuel.

JP4 fuel was phased out in the early 90's, and isn't used any longer, except in rare occasions (like up around the arctic circle, and points further north, where JP-8 fuel would gel too much, and the much lower flashpoint of JP-4, at -20F, makes it a more viable fuel in that extreme cold). The Canadian air force uses JP-4 still, probably for that same reason.

Remember, too, that the US Air Force has additives that they include in their fuel, which raises the price point. Anti-static additive, corrosion inhibitors, FSII (basically, a form of "gas dry" that helps keep water out of the fuel), and thermal stabilizer all add to the price per gallon of the fuel.

Avgas, per se, went out with the old prop driven aircraft of WW2 and Korea/Vietnam eras. Nowadays, even the prop driven aircraft are burning jet fuel.

RE: Hrmmm....
By porkpie on 3/8/2010 1:04:17 PM , Rating: 2
"Avgas, per se, went out with the old prop driven aircraft of WW2 "

Not quite. Avgas is heavily used in the current generation of UAVs.

RE: Hrmmm....
By ralniv on 3/5/2010 1:53:23 PM , Rating: 1
$3/gal seems conservative for an assumed cost for military platforms. Keep in mind that fueling a bird in the skies over Afghanistan costs a lot more than fueling over the skies of Kansas. It costs a LOT to transport fuel to combat zones.

I think the #s being tossed around here certainly pass the giggle test.

RE: Hrmmm....
By porkpie on 3/5/2010 2:09:49 PM , Rating: 3
" Keep in mind that fueling a bird in the skies over Afghanistan costs a lot more than fueling over the skies of Kansas."

a. We don't fly the fuel from Kansas to Afghanistan, though. It's purchased locally whenever possible...where it might even be cheaper than it is here in the US.

b. The majority of day-to-day operations are not conducted in combat zones.

a. If one takes out taxes, the average retail gasoline price today is barely over $2/gal. Wholesale (the rate the federal government will purchase at) , is even cheaper.

All in all, $3/gallon seems quite a reasonable estimate.

RE: Hrmmm....
By ralniv on 3/6/2010 7:50:12 PM , Rating: 2
Regarding your rebuttal..

[a] This sounds logical, but I have been reading about extremely high fuel costs for terrestrial and airborne vehicles in Afghanistan due to fuel transportation costs. We may be buying it in the region, but there does appear to be very steep transport costs.

[b] This may also be true, but I'm not convinced of this being accurate. Particularly in a time of war. Are we really flying more aerial refueling ops over US skies than abroad during a time of war? I would be surprised if this was the case. Why opt for aerial refueling when we can refuel safely on the ground on our own soil?

[c] True, but this does not reflect the cost of getting fuel to our bases abroad. I'm pretty sure that costs far more than $2/gal. Probably an order of magnitude more.

RE: Hrmmm....
By porkpie on 3/7/2010 12:38:01 AM , Rating: 2
" We may be buying it in the region, but there does appear to be very steep transport costs."

Fuel for ground vehicles in Afghanistan has to be transported over mountainous terrain ,and guarded from attack at all times. I imagine the average cost for ground fuel there is astronomical...but tankers are fueled at air bases only, obviously. I don't know where exactly, but I'd guess the majority are from Kandahar, or well outside the country, like Manas (Kyrgyzstan) or Incirlik (Turkey).

"Why opt for aerial refueling when we can refuel safely on the ground on our own soil?"

Routine training missions well as missions not in combat zones, but out of range of normal US airbases.

The US military was paying $3.04/gal for jet fuel in Iraq in early 2008-- near the height of the oil boom, when oil was well over $100/bbl.

Prices have since dropped considerably.

RE: Hrmmm....
By lightfoot on 3/7/2010 4:50:29 PM , Rating: 2
Are we really flying more aerial refueling ops over US skies than abroad during a time of war?

Calling this a time of war is a bit of a stretch. Yes, we are technically at war with several countries (Afghanistan and North Korea come to mind) but our country is nowhere near being on a war footing. Currently in this "time of war" we are devoting about 4% of GDP to military spending - including all spending on wars. This is less than half of what was spent during the Vietnam War, and one tenth our spending during World War II. If anything we are currently in a "peace time" economy.

Also consider that approximately 10% of our armed forces are currently deployed to war zones - the remaining 90% are stationed at major US military bases, most of which are domestic.

RE: Hrmmm....
By porkpie on 3/7/2010 9:14:27 PM , Rating: 2
On a related note, I read that in '06, the military spent a bit more than $8B on fuel costs. That would mean that our KC-135 tankers alone are using roughly 12.5% of the entire military's fuel budget...a figure which I think would surprise most people, given the vast number of jets, helicopters, ground vehicles, and non-nuclear surface ships which also consume fuel.

RE: Hrmmm....
By Calin on 3/8/2010 2:45:37 AM , Rating: 1
Are we really flying more aerial refuelling ops over US skies than abroad during a time of war?

I remember the initial attack on Iraq was launched as cruise missiles launched from B-52 bombers flown from USA (with aerial refuelling).
You might balk at the cost of aerial refuelling, but remember that every aerial refuelling en route means another bomber crew that lives in the USA (instead of being located aboard), and for a couple missions a month, costs for locating an entire operation aboard will dwarf the aerial refuelling costs (move crew, move maintenance crew, move heavy repairing equipment, move weapons, find lodgings, pay extra "war zone" pay and so on.
Cheaper to fly across the globe a couple of times a month.

RE: Hrmmm....
By MrBlastman on 3/8/2010 1:35:40 PM , Rating: 3
It isn't neccesarily the lodging costs that are an issue, it is moreso the cost of getting a plane to 25,000 to 35,000 feet (or higher). Jet fuel is burned at a variable rate dependent on turbine RPM and altitude. The lower the altitude, the faster the burn rate, the higher the altitude, the lower. This is why you will see a "cruise" altitude mentioned for aircraft, as this is a point where they have a very efficient burn of the fuel going into the turbines.

You might be suprised at this but it takes quite a bit of fuel flow to get a plane up to a high altitude. Many times, depending on their ordinance load, it is far more effective to keep them in flight near FLOT rather than having them RTB @ bingo fuel as it saves both time and fuel costs. Sure, it might cost a bit to have the tankers stay up in the air but in the long run, it is far more efficient and effective to allow aerial refueling. If a plane is fully loaded and it is loitering waiting for orders from the FAC, having it RTB and refuel means it has to burn quite a bit of fuel once again to a. come back to loiter point and b. gain that altitude again.

For long-range, extended flight missions, it just makes sense to allow them to refuel before entering the FLOT, extending their range by a noticeable amount allowing them to perform deep strikes that normally they would not, even with external tanks.

RE: Hrmmm....
By cmdrdredd on 3/6/2010 11:16:45 AM , Rating: 2
The cost of fuel also includes storage, transport, service people to fuel the aircraft, and any waste which there is probably some.

RE: Hrmmm....
By uibo on 3/6/2010 2:43:40 PM , Rating: 2
They have a dedicated department for that, namely the "Department of Statistical Distortion" ;)

RE: Hrmmm....
By MadMan007 on 3/7/2010 5:34:43 PM , Rating: 3
Nah that department doesn't exist any more, they now subcontract such needs out to Apple whose obvious lead in reality distortion fields makes them well qualified.

just build the damn thing
By FITCamaro on 3/5/2010 10:39:05 AM , Rating: 2
Anyone else tired of all the whining. Both aircraft have pros and cons. Seems Boeing's offering better meets the requirements of the original RFP (before Northrop threatened to pull out).

But just award the damn program and get it moving before the administration decides to spend the money on some new entitlement.

RE: just build the damn thing
By MrBlastman on 3/5/2010 10:49:20 AM , Rating: 2
I concur. Especially with 10 billion in savings over 40 or so years, that is enough money almost to build a new aircraft carrier, crew and arm it.

This part of the article is interesting to me:

Boeing also reports that the NewGen Tanker provides full access to the unrestricted flight envelope of the aircraft to the crew rather than allowing the computer to limit combat maneuverability.

I wonder if this means that not only the boom of the aircraft is fly-by-wire but also the FLCS is. I also wonder if this means it will have a Cat I/Cat III override switch.

You generally don't see tankers in a combat situation as they are high up and usually behind the FLOT so I'm not sure why this is a big advantage. When they are refueling aircraft, they follow strict guidelines on airspeed, though do have to make wide-sweeping turns on occasion. The airspeed requirement helps tremendously with the pilots being able to link up to the tanker. It is not an easy task at all.

RE: just build the damn thing
By FormulaRedline on 3/5/2010 11:47:57 AM , Rating: 3
I wonder if this means that not only the boom of the aircraft is fly-by-wire but also the FLCS is.

This is just a dig at Airbus' fly-by-wire control system which is infamous in the commercial world for overriding the pilots' inputs. Basically, Airbus engineers claim to know how to fly the plane from their design room better than the pilots on the airplane in every situation.

While this may stop pilots from making stupid mistakes on a commercial flight, its really not something you want if you are trying to bug out of the area quickly when you've got incoming enemy fighters or if you actually have to take some evasive maneuvers. Though, as you point out, the latter is unlikely, its not good thing to be wishing you had the one time you do need it.

RE: just build the damn thing
By MrBlastman on 3/5/2010 12:04:19 PM , Rating: 2
This is what a Cat I/Cat III switch is for. Cat I gives the FLCS and airframe full maneuverability while Cat III gives the FLCS extended override control from the computer and a narrower maneuvering envelope limiting what the aircraft can do.

RE: just build the damn thing
By WackyDan on 3/5/2010 5:42:34 PM , Rating: 3
You are wrong about tankers not being in combat situations.

Please remember that not only do these planes carry fuel, but have a cargo hold. That cargo hold, at least on the KC 135 has seats along the walls, and can be configured to carry more seating. The 767 version would be no different.

They fly these planes into hot spots all time delivering cargo and passengers. The C-117 may be a dedicated hauler, but the refueling fleet takes up any slack, and needs that combat maneuvering ability.

RE: just build the damn thing
By rs1 on 3/5/2010 6:29:26 PM , Rating: 4
Yes, quite tired of the whining. Boeing's whining, that is. They lost the initial bid, and if not for their constant whining about it, construction of these new tankers could have been started years ago.

Boeing lost. They should have just taken their lumps, and gotten over it.

RE: just build the damn thing
By ekv on 3/6/2010 3:28:13 AM , Rating: 2
You know I was thinking along those lines too. Boeing was complaining a bit too much. How's that line go ... "me thinks thou dost protest too much"?

Of course, now the Dreamliner is basically a reality. So their strategy was likely a stalling tactic till they could effectively leverage the 787 technology into the KC-X program. The more delays and screw-ups that occurred in the 787 the more Boeing b*tched. Must have been a wee bit of tension there (at Boeing).

From a "consumer" point of view, I'm sure the EADS is nice, but I don't think it compares well with 787. Northrop seems to see it that way as well.

Of course, if Boeing is still using French based CAD/CAM (Dassault's Catia?) then EADS essentially has access to all the technology that went in to building the 787. I wouldn't be surprised if the Chinese have their toes in that water as well. But that is another story for another day.

RE: just build the damn thing
By ekv on 3/6/2010 3:38:04 AM , Rating: 1
Oops. I should have been more specific. 767 airframe, with 787 "digital flight deck". [Which is actually a good thing since the 787 production line has a fair amount of work already in the queue].

Then there is the politics of keeping jobs for the 767 production line. Etc.

RE: just build the damn thing
By Solandri on 3/6/2010 8:41:30 AM , Rating: 1
Yes, quite tired of the whining. Boeing's whining, that is. They lost the initial bid, and if not for their constant whining about it,

I can understand your point of view if the whining were without merit. But the GAO (the branch of the government which makes sure contracts are awarded correctly and fairly) basically told the Air Force, "Boeing was right, you did it wrong. Now do it again, except do it right this time."

The GAO is actually one of the few branches of the government I have pretty good faith in. If they say the bidding was done wrong, then I don't consider Boeing complaining about it to be "whining".

The interesting bits actually are...
By Amiga500 on 3/5/10, Rating: 0
RE: The interesting bits actually are...
By Iaiken on 3/5/2010 11:34:59 AM , Rating: 2
Don't bring the F-35 into this, it's a completely different beast that was executed in a completely different process. The F-22 and F-35 were essentially designed in a 'big bang' fashion where the design itself and all of it's components were designed from a blank slate. Both tanker designs are variants of existing aircraft and as such do not represent anywhere near the same level of risk as something that was made from scratch.

By porkpie on 3/5/2010 11:48:21 AM , Rating: 3
Exactly. And let's not forget that this small level of incremental risk is bringing with it large advantages in cost savings and performance (at least according to Boeing).

By Amiga500 on 3/8/2010 4:24:33 PM , Rating: 2
Don't bring the F-35 into this, it's a completely different beast that was executed in a completely different process.

Yet it over-ran.

Right now, the AF needs a program with minimal risk that won't over-run, either in time or budget. The Northrop-Grumman proposal is much better in that regard.

I am not comparing a fast jet to a tanker/transport in anything other than program execution.

The 767 is not a variant of an existing aircraft. It is a mixture of different major assemblies (wings, fuselage & avionics) that have never flown together. Trust me, making that happen is no formality.

RE: The interesting bits actually are...
By Keeir on 3/5/2010 12:33:02 PM , Rating: 2
Errr... that would be true if the existing MRTT could actually meet all the airforce requirements.

It can't according to the GAO report last year.

There is a -plan- for the existing MRTT to meet all the requirements, which does seem lower risk than Boeing's proposal, but don't make it seem like the Tanker the USAF would actually be buying/using is 100% like the prototype.

RE: The interesting bits actually are...
By Amiga500 on 3/8/2010 4:27:14 PM , Rating: 2
It can't according to the GAO report last year.

More info please. :-)

By Amiga500 on 3/8/2010 4:57:27 PM , Rating: 2
Doesn't really matter now anyway, NG has decided to no-bid.

Tanker contract
By bortiz on 3/5/2010 11:07:36 AM , Rating: 2
What makes no sense to me is that I would go for the plane with the largest cargo capacity, to stay in the air and refuel the maximum number of aircraft before needing to land and refuel. This would favor a tanker based on the A380, not A330 or 787. Do you want to do in flight refueling or do you want to watch pretty videos on a large screen while your supposed to be working? This sounds like a pork-barrel deal to me!

RE: Tanker contract
By porkpie on 3/5/10, Rating: 0
RE: Tanker contract
By lightfoot on 3/5/2010 12:19:05 PM , Rating: 5
Nor is the large fuel capacity always required. However flying a larger, heavier aircraft would ALWAYS burn more fuel. In the cases where they need significantly more fuel in the air, it is probably better to use two smaller tankers than one large one (it also doubles the number of aircraft that can refuel at the same time.)

RE: Tanker contract
By porkpie on 3/7/2010 11:07:42 AM , Rating: 2
You're not going to land an A380 on the short 6,000 ft military runways that are required by the proposal.
What set of chowderheads rated that comment down? Did you mistakenly believe it was incorrect, or simply trying to vent rage over some prior post of mine?

RE: Tanker contract
By hduser on 3/5/2010 4:24:36 PM , Rating: 2
Probably the cost of a tanker version of the 380 would be the equivalent to 3 tanker versions of the 767. Hauling that much fuel up there in the 380 and keeping it aloft would be more expensive and you need special runways and servicing equipment for the 380. Simply put, the infrastructure for the military isn't there for that kind of plane. With a single 380, you can only be in one place at a time.

Say What?
By GTaudiophile on 3/5/2010 2:01:16 PM , Rating: 5
So is this latest proposal from Boeing still based on the old 767? 777? 787?

I am sorry but this whole thing still stinks.

How can the DOD choose from only one bid? The point of a bidding process is to get multiple bids to drive up competition and innovation and drive down price!

Having only one bidder sounds like the former Soviet and East German governments only allowing one person on their ballots for their so-called democratic elections.

RE: Say What?
By porkpie on 3/5/2010 2:12:04 PM , Rating: 2
"How can the DOD choose from only one bid? "

If you need a new tanker, and only one company is willing to bid for it, what's your solution? Just keep using our old fleet for another 40 years?

In any case, I'm confident it's a moot point. NG/EADS will be coaxed back into the process, never fear.

RE: Say What?
By FITCamaro on 3/5/2010 10:08:52 PM , Rating: 1
Yeah but the last time they were coaxed back in by changing the proposal to essentially favor their bid which is why Boeing won its protest to begin with.

Now personally I don't care who wins. Both will be building the plane in the US. Of course the only bad thing about Boeing that I can see is their unions. Of course maybe they'll do with this what they're doing with 787 production and move it to a new area where there is no union.

They need to get rid of all these high priced union employees that do nothing but bitch about wanting more money and better benefits every year. In good times and in bad.

RE: Say What?
By thepalinator on 3/6/2010 5:46:22 AM , Rating: 2
Looks like we got a couple union workers here rating posts who don't want to hear the truth.

RE: Say What?
By lightfoot on 3/5/10, Rating: 0
RE: Say What?
By lightfoot on 3/8/2010 7:31:13 PM , Rating: 1
People are clearly confused as to how a public bidding process works. If any company looked at the requirements and determined that it was possible to make a profit on this contract they would make the effort to place a bid. The problem is that even Northrop/EADS (with existing tanker designs) have determined that they can't compete with Boeing on this contract. This is partially due to the fact that it would require significant investment to conform their design to the request, but also due to the fact that there isn't enough margin on the contract to justify such an investment.

A successful auction does not require multiple bidders, it only requires one bidder and other parties to consider bidding. EADS/Northrop considered bidding, but determined that the costs didn't justify the rewards. EADS doesn't need to submit a bid because they have already been outbid. Any other company that may have considered entering the process had also already been outbid.

It is not Boeing's responsibility to provide this contract at the lowest possible price, merely to provide it at a price lower than any other competitor.

If this bidding process had been secret and only Boeing allowed to place a bid, then there would be merit in the counter arguments. However, that simply is not the case. EADS was allowed (in fact encouraged) to make a bid; they simply chose not to. To force other companies to submit competing bids would not lower the cost of the overall project, it would increase it.

I get it now!
By Iaiken on 3/5/2010 10:47:10 AM , Rating: 1
All that BS, posturing and whining was just so they could buy time to put a plan on the drawing board that didn't suck balls.

Good work Boeing, you are a shining example for us all. It's not whether you win or lose, cheat to win. :D

RE: I get it now!
By porkpie on 3/5/2010 10:56:15 AM , Rating: 4
Come now, why not represent the situation honestly? Boeing's original proposal was without doubt the best for the original requirements. Those requirements were then modified substantially subsequent to Boeing's submission, under conditions a GAO investigation found highly questionable.

I'm neither pulling for nor against Boeing in this bid, but I can't condone such blatant misrepresentation.

RE: I get it now!
By Iaiken on 3/5/2010 11:28:40 AM , Rating: 2
I think that's a pretty honest assessment.

The military has every right to change their requirements at any time during the RFP process, however, in doing so they needed to account for that by extending the open timeline (which they didn't).

The problem with this whole situation has been that Boeing, NG and the Air Force liaisons have ALL been engaged in suspect behavior from pretty much the onset.

With billions of dollars on the line for their stakeholders, of course they (NG & Boeing each) are going to try every trick they know.

The end result appears to be a Boing product that not only meets, but exceeds the original RFP while offering a significant cost savings over the original proposal.

Your move NG.

RE: I get it now!
By Keeir on 3/5/2010 12:38:28 PM , Rating: 2
The military has every right to change their requirements at any time during the RFP process, however, in doing so they needed to account for that by extending the open timeline (which they didn't).

Your right, they do... however, they are also required to make such information public. That was the issue, the Air Force graded on a different criteria than they made public according to the GAO. This "NewGen" Tanker likely lacks many features the last proposal Tanker did... but more clearly focuses on the actual desires made clear in the new RFP. (Based on the original scorecard from the last (2nd) RFP round its hard to understand how NG/EADS won that one... until you realize that Fuel/Dollar was a significant criteria, not Performance based on Simulation per Dollar)

Keeping America Strong
By rika13 on 3/6/2010 7:34:38 PM , Rating: 2
I would prefer that our military equipment be made and designed here. It is a lot easier to trust a guy in Seattle to make stuff than some guy in France who might be an enemy in 20 years.

RE: Keeping America Strong
By theendofallsongs on 3/6/2010 7:45:08 PM , Rating: 2
Us go to war with France one day? Don't be stupid...that'd be like us fighting Germany or Japan or something.

RE: Keeping America Strong
By Atheist Icon on 3/7/2010 10:07:38 PM , Rating: 2
I think anyone going to war with France would expect what they did in WWII... Wave the white flag and welcome the new leader...then wait for someone to save them.

RE: Keeping America Strong
By msomeoneelsez on 3/11/2010 3:23:03 AM , Rating: 2
Someone like Greece, right?

If I were Northrop Grumman, EADS...
By KingConker on 3/5/2010 11:47:08 AM , Rating: 2
I'd tell them to cram it up their ass!

Let them buy planes with 75% bigger screens in the cockpit - probably 1/4 of the resolution and with a maximum of 8 sprites! That takes me back...

RE: If I were Northrop Grumman, EADS...
By lightfoot on 3/5/2010 12:23:30 PM , Rating: 2
...but can it play Super Mario Bros?

By catavalon21 on 3/6/2010 10:58:54 PM , Rating: 2
...or M.U.L.E....?

<Checking to see if one can become a Bunten fan on FB...>

Indeed, those were fun times.

Sounding good
By ksherman on 3/5/2010 11:20:57 AM , Rating: 2
Sounds like Boeing is finally starting to put together a forward-looking proposal, rather than trying to ride on it's 'Built in America' advantage.

RE: Sounding good
By 3minence on 3/5/2010 2:19:10 PM , Rating: 2
Sounds like the usual Pie-in-the-sky marketing propaganda just meant to win the bid. These guys always try to make their product sound heavenly, which is necessary as very quickly the cost overruns will soar heavenward along with the delays.

This must be a difficult decision for the Air Force brass who have to make the call. Do they want to work for Northrup or Boeing when they retire? If they back Boeing and Northrup wins, their not going to get that cushy consultant job they've been counting on.

By 3minence on 3/5/2010 2:25:06 PM , Rating: 2
Boeing twists the knife in Northrop's back by adding that the screens in the NewGen tanker are 75% larger than those in the Airbus A330, on which Northrop's proposed tanker is based.

Northrup needs to fire back and say "Yea, but were using Eyefinity with IPS panels while Boeing is using a single crappy TN panel!"

By Dribble on 3/8/2010 5:43:45 AM , Rating: 2
If that is the trick to winning then another 10 years or so of arguing should mean airbus can resubmit a bid using parts from their even fancier next gen planes.

Might be simpler for the airforce to just admit they aren't going to have a new tanker for the next hundred years and redo the bid constraints for what they expect a plane to look like then. e.g. Tanker must operate beyond earth orbit.

By Wolfy747400 on 3/9/2010 4:54:23 AM , Rating: 2
Basically my title says it all. The people in the echelons of these companies(Boeing and Northrop)always, in my opinion, know someone in the right position either in the political arena or in the Air Force or what have you.

According to one of the other articles that Dailytech reported on,

"Even though the KC-45A, built on a highly modified Airbus A330 airframe, appeared to win the contract based on its superior performance on nearly every front, Boeing wants the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to further investigate the decision"

Why would the Air Force go with Boeing if the KC-45A is superior on nearly every front ?

Added features!
By Belard on 3/5/10, Rating: 0
"If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion." -- Scientology founder L. Ron. Hubbard

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