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Northrop Grumman/EADS were awarded a $35B contract for 179 aircraft  (Source: Northrop Grumman)

  (Source: Northrop Grumman)
Boeing loses out to Airbus in next generation Air Force tanker contract

DailyTech reported last year that EADS' Airbus division was seen as a candidate to supply airframes to replace the existing C5 Galaxy cargo planes and the Boeing 747-200B (VC-25A) used as Air Force One. Many discounted the possibility of foreign interests supplying airframes to the Air Force given the overwhelming lobbying presence to keep jobs and production on American soil.

While we still don't know the outcome for the C5 Galaxy/VC25A replacements, the U.S. Air Force shocked many on Friday when it announced that Northrop Grumman and EADS were awarded a $35B contract to produce 179 tanker aircraft.

Northrop Grumman/EADS long battled with Boeing in the KC-X tanker program, with many analysts and industry insiders reporting that the former had little chance in winning out to the hometown favorite. In the end, Air Force Gen. Arthur Lichte simply said that the larger, modified A330 provided by Airbus offered "more passengers, more cargo, more fuel to offload, more patients that we can carry, more availability, more flexibility and more dependability."

According to defense analyst Loren Thompson, Boeing will have little chance in reversing the decision as the Airbus plane "seemed markedly superior" to the Air Force.

The Airbus A330-based aircraft will be called the KC-45 and will replace 531 KC-135 aircraft which date back to the 1950s. The main structures for the aircraft including the body and wings will be manufactured in Europe by Airbus. Final assembly and militarization of the aircraft will be undertaken by Northrop Grumman in Mobile, Alabama.

Not surprisingly, reaction from many in Congress came swiftly and fiercely. "It's stunning to me that we would outsource the production of these airplanes to Europe instead of building them in America," said Kansas senator Sam Brownback. "We should have an American tanker built by an American company with American workers. I can't believe we would create French [and British] jobs in place of Kansas jobs," added Todd Tiahrt, a congressman from Kansas.

Patty Murray, a senior senator from Washington, also expressed her displeasure with the Northrop Grumman/EADA decision. "We are outraged that this decision taps European Airbus and its foreign workers to provide a tanker to our American military. At a time when our economy is hurting, this decision to outsource our tankers is a blow to the American aerospace industry, American workers and America's military."

Northrop Grumman/EADS won the first of three stages for the $100B Air Force tanker program which calls for 500 aircraft. With Northrop Grumman/EADS having won the first stage, it has the inside track in securing the final two stages of the program.

Boeing has 100 days to appeal the decision. "Once we have reviewed the details behind the award, we will make a decision concerning our possible options," said Boeing in a statement.



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all i can say is...
By judasmachine on 3/3/2008 10:06:48 AM , Rating: 5
Boeing should have bucked up and made a better plane.




RE: all i can say is...
By othercents on 3/3/2008 10:42:49 AM , Rating: 2
I can't say that the Airbus is a superior plane, but it is a much larger airframe which is exactly what the Air Force needs. Boeing is probably running computer generated designs right now on a larger airframe to see how quickly they can produce one.

I wonder how quickly the Air Force can expect delivery of the first airframe. I am guessing that the airframe won't have the same time issues that the Airbus has been having with their completed systems.

Other


RE: all i can say is...
By stburke on 3/3/2008 11:10:45 AM , Rating: 2
Boeing could have offeered a larger varient of the 767, such as the -300ER model but it's just a longer frame with a slightly larger MTOW. The only other option would be the 767-400 which would be too heavy to viably carry enough fuel. I guess the could have offered a 777 variety, but that would be too large. A 787, you would have to wait at least untill ~2020. The A330-300 was the right choice


RE: all i can say is...
By judasmachine on 3/3/2008 1:17:15 PM , Rating: 2
I thought they were in competition to make a new plane for this purpose, not selecting from existing airframes. Not that it changes my position. If the AF wanted a bigger plane, then it would appear they made the right decision.


RE: all i can say is...
By CubicleDilbert on 3/3/2008 3:10:40 PM , Rating: 2
Starting a new plane from scratch takes about 10 years in average. And the 787 has not even made a little hop on the tarmac yet. (And probably will not for another 1-2 years :-)

So the USAF needs a solution NOW and not in 10 years.


RE: all i can say is...
By eye smite on 3/3/2008 10:24:45 PM , Rating: 3
The KC-11 would have been a good solution as the KC10 has been an excellent tanker. Since Boeing merged with McDonnell Douglas, they have all the plans for that aircraft. I find it humorous that congressmen are put out by this outsourcing since they haven't cared before now about all the jobs going overseas. Someone needs to grab the reigns up there and take control of this outsourcing garbage.


RE: all i can say is...
By Solandri on 3/4/2008 1:30:01 AM , Rating: 1
The MD-11 suffers from high wing loading (i.e. small surface area for amount of lift generated). This leads to long and/or fast takeoff and landing speeds. There have already been several MD-11 crashes (including two FedEx planes) due to hitting the runway at excessive speed on landing. It's not exactly a trait you want from a plane which may be forced to operate off of short or substandard runways.

And previous outsourcing mostly happened during economic booms. Now that we're in a recession, voters are hyper-sensitive to the domestic job market.


RE: all i can say is...
By pmonti80 on 3/3/2008 12:19:00 PM , Rating: 4
This is good for Boeing on the long term, because next time they will try to build a better plane, wich is good for everyone.


RE: all i can say is...
By ikkeman on 3/3/2008 2:08:48 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Boeing should have bucked up and made a better plane.


Boeing did - try. They took parts of several 767 variants (wing from -300?, fuselage from -200? (not sure about what from where, doesn't matter for my point) and added new engines to get it into competative shape. it didn't win

not only is the 767 smaller than the 330, the fact that boeing needed to put together a new combination of parts meant there was a large risk of production trouble (like with the 787 - parts not fitting, wrong fastners on joining parts) The lower risk in the northrop offer was one of the top 3 reasons for choosing it


Biased
By MaximillianSterling on 3/3/2008 12:02:34 PM , Rating: 2
My brother flies KC-135s based on the original 1950s Boeing 707 airframe. The things are dangerous pieces of crap. Granted much of the danger comes from being 50 years old, but that's beside the point. There is a chance he will still be flying tankers when the new ones are put into service. Personally, I want him flying the safest, most reliable plane. So I whole-heartedly support the Air Force's decision. Yes, it's a pretty biased opinion, but there it is.




RE: Biased
By TerranMagistrate on 3/3/2008 12:56:26 PM , Rating: 2
I want him flying the safest, most reliable plane.

I doubt the decision had anything to do with which company had the more reliable tanker. Boeing is the industry leader in commercial jets especially when considering the 787 so chances are that Boeing does build the safest, most reliable plane.

And yes, Pratt and Whitney is superior to Rolls Royce so the powerplant of the Boeing jet would be better.

Clearly these points were not what the USAF was focusing on when they made this questionable decision.


RE: Biased
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 3/3/2008 1:00:39 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Clearly these points were not what the USAF was focusing on when they made this questionable decision.

Correct. Those were minor background checks. Did they comply with all the standard safety standards and regulations? Yes. Was safety a key point of this contract? Hell no.

Key points were based around how much better it would be as a tanker. The 330 is a better tanker.


RE: Biased
By Amiga500 on 3/3/2008 1:06:50 PM , Rating: 2
The KC-45 will be using General Electric engines (upgraded CF6 for anyone that cares).


RE: Biased
By MaximillianSterling on 3/3/2008 1:10:36 PM , Rating: 2
Not sure what you're talking about. The article quotes the general saying that the A330 solution has "more availability, more flexibility and more dependability." That would mean it's safer. You're saying he's lying?


RE: Biased
By Calin on 3/4/2008 5:46:44 AM , Rating: 2
No, that doesn't mean it's safer.
More availability?
On a short timescale, can take its fuel load farther, and can stay longer on station.
On a long timescale, preventive maintenance takes less time, and repairing expected problems also takes less time (or less personnel, or there is a commonality with other planes, so it is easy to train every mechanic for every plane).
More flexibility? It can carry cargo, fuel, troops (on chairs), wounded on stretchers, can refuel all the planes and helicopters used by the US services (military, coast guard, national reserve).
More dependability: when it's flying, it's flying without problems - and when problems will appear, 10 or 40 years from now (look at the life span of the actual tanker, KC-135) there will be stocks of parts to repair them.


RE: Biased
By blowfish on 3/4/2008 9:00:14 AM , Rating: 2
Boeing managed to cover up the rudder problems on the 737, despite numerous crashes. There are still 737's flying that have yet to have the replacement parts fitted.

Next time you fly in an Airbus, look out over the wing - no vortex generators necessary. Compare that with Boeing.

The Grumman/EADS tanker will have US engines, but I guess you didn't notice that. The US contribution to the contract value will be 58%. I wonder what the figure would be for the Boeing alternative? You know they outsource a certain amount of work on their planes.

I don't think the military could have stated their preference any clearer - the Grumman/EADS will carry "more passengers, more cargo, more fuel to offload, more patients that we can carry, more availability, more flexibility and more dependability."


RE: Biased
By Spazmodian on 3/3/2008 5:02:58 PM , Rating: 2
The KC135 is one of the most reliable and dependable aircraft in the Air Force inventory. They are not dangerous pieces of crap.


RE: Biased
By Calin on 3/4/2008 5:49:54 AM , Rating: 2
A 50 years old plane is a dangerous piece of crap, at least compared to a new one built by the same specifications.
While a new production of KC-135 would create again those most reliable and dependable aircrafts, the Air Force has new requirements that the KC-135 might not be the best airframe to fulfill (internal volume, cargo capacity, troop transport capability, time on station, range, ...)


RE: Biased
By Spazmodian on 3/4/2008 11:03:17 PM , Rating: 2
Simply because the airframe was designed 50 years ago doens't mean it is a dangerous piece of crap now. You want a piece of crap airframe? The C5 blows. The KC135 is superior to the C5 by leaps and bounds. The C5 is a newer airframe.

As far as capabilities go...you underestimate what the KC135 offers. It is the most efficient and one of the fastest cargo aircraft the AF has. A KC135 will get from point A to point B faster and using less fuel than a C17, KC10, C5, C130... By building a bloated airframe that's a swiss army knife you lose that advantage. Most of the booms I know wanted the Boeing, because it does AR better...that means it's the best choice to do the job.


RE: Biased
By ikkeman on 3/5/2008 11:39:21 AM , Rating: 1
if it is true that a 707 based, 50yo transport is more efficient than a 20yo (boeing) C17, I guess I just found another reason for the airforce to not choose boeing. I thay cant improve fuel efficiency over 30 years - they deserve to get spanked.

as for your last point. How many of those booms actually tried the airbus???


A couple of facts...
By Amiga500 on 3/3/2008 10:42:19 AM , Rating: 2
1. Boeing and Airbus use as many external partners as each other these days, so to describe Boeing as 100% American and Airbus as 0% American is both stupid and categorically wrong. For instance, quite alot of the 787 is sourced from Europe... heck EADS (yes, EADS-Airbus) make the rear pressure bulkhead!

2. The A330 is an infinitely better technical package for the USAF than the B767, it is cheaper, can carry more fuel and can do it for longer. It also has a incomparably stronger parts base, so will be even cheaper (again) to operate vis-a-vis the 767 in the future.




RE: A couple of facts...
By Amiga500 on 3/3/2008 11:22:28 AM , Rating: 2
What Gen Lichte said in full:

Gen Arthur J Lichte, commander of the US Air Force's Air Mobility Command, said the winning design had many advantages over Boeing's tanker.

"More passengers, more cargo, more fuel to offload, more patients that we can carry, more availability, more flexibility and more dependability," he said.


Argue with that...


RE: A couple of facts...
By Oroka on 3/3/2008 11:25:34 AM , Rating: 2
Boeing and Airbus does have many suppliers for parts, but you cant use the 787 as an example for the 767. The 787 uses the Airbus method of building parts everywhere then assembling them in one place. The majority of the 767 structure is from the US. Most of the money is spent in America, not the EU.

The A330 is NOT the cheaper aircraft. The base 767 is cheaper than the A330, Boeing already has 767 line in the US, Airbus dosent and the $ of building the new line is part of the contract price. The KC-767Adv has a max take-off weight of 400,000lbs vs the 230,000 A330MRTT. Airbus has built around 515 A330s vs 955 Boeing 767s, so there will be ALOT of airframes in the desert to strip parts from in the future, esp considering everyone is swapping in thier 767s for 787s.


RE: A couple of facts...
By Amiga500 on 3/3/2008 11:37:36 AM , Rating: 2
http://www.militarytimes.com/static/projects/pages...

There is a breakdown of how much is built where.

Not near as much Pro America as you think.

1. Cost => There is more to operating a plane than buying it. You appear totally unaware of that. The 330 cleaned house with the 767 in the commericial market for damn good reasons, cost being a massive one.

2. Weights => 230,000lbs for 330? You taking the piss? Go check your facts again.

3. Within the last decade, the 767 line produced 3 times more aircraft per year with 3 times less workers than Boeing projected for this contract...

4. The 767 production line is due to close shortly, what happens when the KC-Y contract comes up in around 10 years time? Fleet commonality (a massive cost saving) goes out the window.

5. Do all you die-hard patriots agree with the policy of giving your troops sub-standard equipment as long as it keeps a few more jobs at home?


By Master Kenobi (blog) on 3/3/2008 12:54:08 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
5. Do all you die-hard patriots agree with the policy of giving your troops sub-standard equipment as long as it keeps a few more jobs at home?

No. I've got no problem with the decision of this contract. The military picked the better aircraft.


RE: A couple of facts...
By ikkeman on 3/3/2008 2:17:59 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
so there will be ALOT of airframes in the desert to strip parts from in the future


which is exactly the situation that the USAF finds itself in with the 707 based kc-135. They want a new tanker to get out of that, not to continue that situation!

The 767 line is basically finished. The line will now probably close by 2012. from that date on, the airforce would have been the sole customer, not a good position (All costs for keeping an 30yo production line gooing (30yo technologies, techniques and efficiencies). not a good idea


RE: A couple of facts...
By CubicleDilbert on 3/3/2008 3:17:39 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry, but I almost peed in my pants of laughter.

Assume someone comes to you with this offer and tells you "... and never mind about future spare parts supply. We have a huge junk yard where we always find something usable...!
And never mind about the price, you want it right? We are the only one in 10 years who can sell it to you... Right?"

That's exactly what the USAF would be looking for.


By JAFO on 3/3/2008 12:08:05 PM , Rating: 4
http://www.cbc.ca/money/story/2003/05/07/engines03...

Basically, a superior bid by US based Pratt and Whitney to build jet engines for an Airbus plane, was thwarted by European business and political leaders. A lot of people lost jobs after months of hard work due to Airbus picking the more expensive jet engines built in Europe.

From the article:

Peter Smith, president of the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada, denounced the decision, telling the paper it was unfair and a blatant example of European protectionism resulting from "unprecedented intervention" by European leaders.




By Amiga500 on 3/3/2008 12:12:11 PM , Rating: 2
Also from the article:

But after European business and political leaders complained, Airbus gave EPI a few days to match Pratt & Whitney's bid

Did they?


By JAFO on 3/3/2008 2:35:10 PM , Rating: 3
They did cut the cost but did not match the bid from P&W. I could not find the exact difference, but the original P&W bid was 20% less.

I am in favor of saving taxpayers money and providing the best equipment available, but can we ignore past misdeeds done to US companies?

Also found this:

http://www.defencetalk.com/forums/archive/index.ph...

From that article:

The engine decision in the 180-aircraft, 18.2-billion-euro ($19.9 billion) program will apparently turn on price, which the sources say favors Pratt & Whitney.

But EPI executives said European government officials should step in and pay the difference, if necessary, to ensure that the European aircraft uses a European engine.

“We would be, in my view, undermining the European cause of this aircraft were we to choose a Canadian bidder for the engine,” a German Ministry of Defense official said April 15. “The engine, too, has to come from a European consortium.”


By Amiga500 on 3/3/2008 4:06:07 PM , Rating: 2
Fair enough.

Bad craic that from EPI.


By TerranMagistrate on 3/3/2008 12:46:41 PM , Rating: 2
Good point.

The USAF should have kept that little bit in mind when they made their choice. Boeing's offering certainly wasn't all that bad and likely comparable to the A330.


By Amiga500 on 3/3/2008 1:04:54 PM , Rating: 2
You want to know just how derisory Boeing's 'offer' was?

The Air Force gave the Boeing Co. five months to rewrite the official specifications for 100 aerial refueling tankers so that the company's 767 aircraft would win a $23.5 billion deal, according to e-mails and documents obtained by Knight Ridder.

In the process, Boeing eliminated 19 of the 26 capabilities the Air Force originally wanted, and the Air Force acquiesced in order to keep the price down.


http://www.commondreams.org/headlines04/0328-09.ht...


Bringing Jobs to the US
By guy642002 on 3/3/2008 9:56:32 AM , Rating: 2
Northrop Grumman is planning on moving assembly to Mobile, AL so there will be numerous jobs opening up due to this contract.

http://thehill.com/leading-the-news/northrop-grumm...




RE: Bringing Jobs to the US
By jarman on 3/3/2008 11:36:20 AM , Rating: 2
Read the article carefully, US tax dollars paying an EU company (propped up by EU Gov't subsidies) to build US Air Force tankers.

The jobs in Mobile, AL are akin to spraying perfume on a turd.


RE: Bringing Jobs to the US
By Heidfirst on 3/3/2008 1:20:42 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
US tax dollars paying an EU company (propped up by EU Gov't subsidies)

& Boeing isn't also propped up by US Govt. subsidies (whatever they may be called)?
Yes, there may be an element of punishment for Boeing in this but if all there was was Boeing then you definitely would get ripped off in the future - they've already shown that in their earlier dealings.

This isn't the first time that the US has bought non-US equipment for defence (Canberra, Rapier, Harrier & T-45 all come immediately to mind but Heckler & Koch & FN supply small arms too & no doubt there are plenty of other examples).
60% by value of this contract will be spent in the USA & no doubt Boeing would have contracted out production of parts too - iirc there is 1 nominally Boeing helicopter where the majority of parts are actually made in the Far East rather than in the US.

The A330 appears to be markedly superior for the USAF needs - it carries more payload yet can operate from smaller strips.
The 4 other recent tanker contracts have all also gone to the A330 MRTT.
& the 767 tanker programme has been anything like troublefree - the Japanese & Italians only got certified days ago several years behind schedule.


RE: Bringing Jobs to the US
By ikkeman on 3/3/2008 2:24:38 PM , Rating: 2
boeing would create at most 2000 jobs in WA, northrop creates at least 1500 jobs in AL.
Those are direct jobs, both boeing and northrop would contract internationally (most of the 767 is build in canada and japan - northrop actually builds the 767 center wing section).

In addition, Airbus will be assembling commercial a330 (and maybe a350 to) in AL - so the total number of jobs there would jump up.

Buying airbus will create more us jobs than buying boeing!


Just to repost...
By AgentPromo on 3/3/2008 1:24:31 PM , Rating: 3
Seriously, take 5 min and read this:

http://www.commondreams.org/headlines04/0328-09.ht...

This whole deal has been screwed up for years. The first part of it:

"WASHINGTON - The Air Force gave the Boeing Co. five months to rewrite the official specifications for 100 aerial refueling tankers so that the company's 767 aircraft would win a $23.5 billion deal, according to e-mails and documents obtained by Knight Ridder.

In the process, Boeing eliminated 19 of the 26 capabilities the Air Force originally wanted, and the Air Force acquiesced in order to keep the price down.

The Air Force then gave Boeing competitor Airbus 12 days to bid on the project and awarded the contract to Boeing even though Airbus met more than 20 of the original 26 specifications and offered a price that was $10 billion less than Boeing's. "

I mean, when I read this I just think that as much as we complain about European propping up companies, we do the same thing here. Everyone wants to be a protectionist about their military dealings.




RE: Just to repost...
By CubicleDilbert on 3/3/2008 3:30:27 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, that is called the "good ol' boys" network.

Too bad that McCain got notice of it and made it public. This poor old fella will probably be badly burned for that in the forthcoming election.


RE: Just to repost...
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 3/3/2008 5:18:12 PM , Rating: 3
I wouldn't be too sure of that.


German Airbus Video (brownie points for Airbus)
By marco916 on 3/3/2008 7:53:15 PM , Rating: 2
Not knocking Boeing, they make great aircraft, but this video shows you why we "as in the U.S" went with Airbus airframes that can withstand stuff like this.

http://news.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=386998




By ikkeman on 3/3/2008 8:09:04 PM , Rating: 2
what makes you ting a 737 wouldn't stand up to the same punishment???


By marco916 on 3/4/2008 12:14:02 AM , Rating: 2
Not saying Boeing can't, but this something you don't see everyday, we want to make sure the US Airforce has the best equipment availible to them. Boeing or Lockheed just needs to step up there game and build something better. Here's a great Korean 747 landing, I'm sure you all seen this before.
http://youtube.com/watch?v=V4gRNpU-5Qk&feature=rel...


By Solandri on 3/3/2008 11:11:13 PM , Rating: 2
The wing and the spar connecting it to the fuselage is the strongest part of the airplane. They're the primary load-bearing members. All the major manufacturers test them to failure, and they typically can rise well above the fuselage before breaking.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=pe9PVaFGl3o

The big risk with the wing striking the runway is that it could yaw the plane enough that it's no longer pointed into the airflow, and will drop out of the sky. Not whether the wing can withstand the hit.


Makes no sense
By Oroka on 3/3/08, Rating: 0
RE: Makes no sense
By GreenEnvt on 3/3/2008 11:42:05 AM , Rating: 2
Ugh, The airbus is a better aircaft for the airforces needs. That should be about the end of the discussion.

I'd also love to see all the jobs stay in North America, but in this case, Airbus had the better package, so they deserved to get the contract.


RE: Makes no sense
By MisterMeeper on 3/3/2008 11:48:26 AM , Rating: 3
First time poster, long time reader.

Just to clear something up here, Northrop Grumman is the prime contractor of this partnership, not EADS. And while Boeing did indeed offer a better design the second time around as opposed to their initial offering, the same can be said of NG/EADS. EADS attempted to enter the A330 the first time around, and they did it by themselves. The result was an overall design that was inferior to the original 767 offering.

They realized that they needed to partner with an experienced company that worked as a Defense Contractor, and chose Northrop Grumman (who has a very long history with the U.S. Military) and with their leadership on this team were able to provide a vastly superior offering the 2nd time around.


This is what you get...
By GodisanAtheist on 3/3/2008 1:55:29 PM , Rating: 2
Go with Boeing - "Yer don't serpourt ar troops!"

Go with Airbus - "TEY TUK UR JERBS!"

Welcome to the catch 22.




By CubicleDilbert on 3/3/2008 3:33:46 PM , Rating: 2
:-D

Haha... right!
I assume most folks in the fabs in Seattle or Alabama are Mexicans, Indians or whatever anyway. They don't care. They just move south to Alabama. The weather down there is much better anyway...


Ill-conceived?
By US56 on 3/3/2008 7:38:25 PM , Rating: 2
It just may be an ill-conceived program. If one were starting from scratch to design a purpose built, single mission aerial refuelling platform, I don't think it would end up looking like a wide-body airliner with a schwanz. If the AF needs more long range military airlift capacity, why not buy more C-17's? If the AF wants to run their own airline, then why not lease disused airliners or use charter carriers? The problem seems to be that the AF is attempting to procure a multi-role platform with many of the attendant pitfalls associated with that approach. The previously mentioned F-35 being one good example. Also, the weightings given the various mission roles may have been confused. Judging by the missions which have been fulfilled by the basic C-135 airframe over its 50+ year life, the AF is no doubt projecting similar mission variants, some of which may not even be foreseeable today, over the next 50+ years. The AF appears to have picked a larger aircraft with greater payload capacity simply because it provides an element of future proofing that is not necessarily required to fulfill the primary mission as currently defined and which may actually detract from the primary mission. Pushing that big, fat, mostly empty volume through the air at hundreds of knots per hour for many years will definitely burn the taxpayers' hardearned, not to mention the environmental impact. Had Boeing been aware of the true wants and desires of the AF, they might have offered a larger variant of the 767 or, if it's really size that matters, the 777. The fact that the two candidate designs were significantly different in capability in the eyes of the AF seems to indicate that something went wrong in the process. Either the requirements were not properly or honestly communicated, were misinterpreted, or Boeing missed the hidden agenda which would not be that uncommon in my experience. If future proofing is what the AF wants, then it makes much more sense to procure the aircraft from a domestic supplier than presume the NG/EADS partnership will survive the test of time. Considering what great friends the dominant partner in the original Airbus consortium has been virtually since the end of WWII, along with some of our other friends in Euroland, that's not a bet I'd be willing to make.




RE: Ill-conceived?
By ikkeman on 3/3/2008 8:33:14 PM , Rating: 2
You mention one thing I agree with: Why didn't Boeing offer an 777 variant. There was no limit on the offers they could put forth...

My guess, Boeing thought this one was already in the bag and offered the 767 because it served Boeings ends, not the USAF's. I heard they were proposing to build 1/3 the airframes with 3 times the workforce when compared to the last decade. Also, at the last deal (the druyen thing), Airbus offered a closer match to the USAF's requirements for $10 Billion less... that was when the GAO finally said enough.


By Orbs on 3/4/2008 5:16:21 PM , Rating: 2
I never understood why a job would be preferred in Kansas compared to France as the article suggests. It's still a human being who needs to get paid to put food on the table for himself/herself and to potentially provide for a family.

If Kansas is suffering from economic hardships, the government should come up with projects that make sense and create jobs for residents of Kansas. If this project made more sense for Airbus then I'm glad it's providing jobs for Airbus employees.

It's great to be proud of your country if your country does something good for the world, but to be upset that a decision created jobs elsewhere alwyas seemed backwards to me.




a good decision
By Gul Westfale on 3/3/08, Rating: -1
RE: a good decision
By pmonti80 on 3/3/2008 9:38:35 AM , Rating: 3
I'm totally with you on that one, European countries buy US military equipement when it's the best. Why wouldn't USA do the same with european military equipment?


RE: a good decision
By OrSin on 3/3/2008 10:19:59 AM , Rating: 4
COnsidering the EU is taxing the hell out of america companies with the MS fines. I say we do the same to them.
I know MS has not been the greatest company, but with over 2 Billion in fines now, because BS IE and other issues is insane.

I say no part of american goverenment should source anything out to another country unless we cant provide a reasonable close alterntive here.

I'm not saying dont deal out side of the country just deal inside first. ALl of Asia does it. EU does it too. Its time america puts america first and not the almight dollar. Stop out sourcing.


RE: a good decision
By boogle on 3/3/2008 11:30:20 AM , Rating: 3
That's a bit isolationist isn't it? 'Don't get anything outside the US unless you have no other choice'.

The US sued MS for large amounts of money due to anti-competitive behaviour. The EU has done the same. MS is a big international company with a bullseye on it, you can't really base politics off of what happens to them.

In a true free market you buy whatever is best for your needs. If you're saying you must only buy from certain suppliers, well then it's no longer a free market is it? Sounds a bit communist to me :p


RE: a good decision
By bpurkapi on 3/3/2008 12:29:18 PM , Rating: 4
This is the logical outgrowth of free market capitalism. If you don't like it pay higher taxes and put tariffs on products, that way we can be a socialist-capitalist country. But since no one wants to pay taxes or tariffs we will go with the product which a) costs less. b) may perform better c)might be from another country.


RE: a good decision
By 3kliksphilip on 3/3/2008 12:42:20 PM , Rating: 2
I do believe that America taxes imports (tariffs?) of steel very heavily to prevent the rest of the world trading steel with America. Not sure about other products.


RE: a good decision
By ikkeman on 3/3/2008 1:38:27 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
I say no part of american goverenment should source anything out to another country unless we cant provide a reasonable close alterntive here.


The gov't did just that.

The B767 is clearly inferior to the A330 (according to this descicsion). They are verry different aircraft and the USAF apparently preferred the 330 benefits over the 767 benefits


RE: a good decision
By Hoser McMoose on 3/3/2008 1:48:32 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I say no part of american goverenment should source anything out to another country unless we cant provide a reasonable close alterntive here.

The Buy American Act, passed into law in 1993, states pretty much exactly that.


RE: a good decision
By ddarko on 3/3/2008 2:54:15 PM , Rating: 2
How does Boeing and its supporterS have ANY claim to the high ground when Boeing shipped TENS of THOUSANDS of American jobs overseas for the production of its 787 Dreamliner plane? That plane is being build EXACTLY the same way the Northrop is planning to build the tankers: most of the parts are build overseas and then assembled together in the United States. Thanks to Boeing, all those thousands of parts jobs are non-Americans.

So I ask Senator Pat Murray of Washington State: where was your vocal voice when your big corporate buddy Boeing was taking good salaried jobs from your constituents and shipping them overseas? The 787 planes will produce hundreds of billions of dollars more revenue, more jobs, more salaries over its lifetime than a couple hundred tankers. THOUSANDS of 787 planes will be built. Where were you Senator Murray, when the chips were down and it really counted?


RE: a good decision
By SeeManRun on 3/3/2008 11:42:27 AM , Rating: 5
quote:
I'm totally with you on that one, European countries buy US military equipement when it's the best. Why wouldn't USA do the same with european military equipment?


Free trade is the best thing since sliced bread!!! Until you are on the losing end of it anyway.


RE: a good decision
By rudy on 3/3/2008 3:23:00 PM , Rating: 3
I don't know about this. Here is the problem what if political alliances change. I really don't care if we make our toys in china, or our luxury cars in Europe but the main reason the US is a world super power is cause our military is top grade, with some of the best developed machines built here. If you outsource and a real war takes place how are you going to build more planes? You already shipped the money used to build the infrastructure out of the country. The main reason the US has done well in many wars is our control of top end fighting machines. The other countries buy our machines cause they cant make them or cant afford to make them. That is a weakness they have and we should not have. Every other country out there is learning from this mistake and trying to build stuff in house like China and Europe, and we seem to be forgetting what we did right. I am not even saying France is going to go to war with us though it is possible, but rather if we goto a major war cutting off our supplies from france will be easier then from kansas, destroying the factories in france will be easier then in kansas and the french if pinched for planes will just keep them for themself.

I strongly believe the US needs to curve outsources of necessities, these are basic foods, military products and commodities so that if there is every a real world problem such as famine, war, disease or whatever we can hunker down and make it through. If its all made in china, only the chinese will make it though if you see my point.


RE: a good decision
By ikkeman on 3/3/2008 4:17:56 PM , Rating: 2
ITAR regulations make sure no critical information would not be in US hands.
Part of the deal is (probably) that Northrop (or another Completely US company) get a copy of all the design, stress, manufactring and certification documents.
EADS is literally handing over all the information needed to make the KC-45A in the US.
So if the US invaded EUR (improbable as that is) and needs more tankers that verry moment - they can set up a completely US supply base, against the small premium (read sarcasm) of having to set up a virgin supply base. In the mean time your US warfighters have the better tool for less money...

Also, EADS is a dutch company - not french!


RE: a good decision
By rudy on 3/3/2008 6:25:50 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah but one cannot simply build a factory for an air frame over night, that is my point. Now days as things get more complicated high end production factories are taking longer to build and requiring more. If you goto an average war that takes 10 years you may not even be able to get a factory up and running before you have been defeated. And that assumes you build all the parts for the factory in the US which we don't I am sure. So having it here to start is a much safer plan.

I thought the frames were produced in France either way my point is sound. If you outsource parts then you effectively outsource infrastructure and then you become Dependant on a separate country and company 2000 miles away to provide you with your life line. Seems like a stupid risk to me.


RE: a good decision
By ikkeman on 3/3/2008 6:59:08 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
average war that takes 10 years


average war??? WWII took six years...

The 767 is (largly)not build in the US either. Canada and Japan build most parts. Boeing and Airbus are global integrators. Make no mistake - Airbus factories build boeing parts and vice versa!

In the case of all-out war and you need tankers NOW, you put the retired kc-135's back into service. There's a reason why the airforce doesn't simply throw out their dated airframes, they get parked in the desert. Only when the replacement of their replacement strats rolling of assembly lines are they cut up for scrap.


RE: a good decision
By roadhog74 on 3/3/2008 5:03:41 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
the main reason the US is a world super power is cause our military is top grade


Actually it is the other way round.
you were a power in the 20's and 30's when you had almost no
military to speak of.

You are a super power because of the
economic/manufacturing base you have.
Which is largely based around population.
You had 100-200 million people in a single
economic block when europe had 100-200 million
people in about 50 hostile economic zones.

In europe the military crushed the economic and
manufacturing base, causing a reversal in fortunes.

The US is approaching the same problem, spending
too much on blowing things up, that said the amount
spent on R&D by the US military is probably a good
thing for the US economy, rather than investing
in infrastructure.

The europeans a coalesing as fast as they can.
The chinese are rapidly building their base
and economic alliances.

That should be more of a concern than buying
planes from overseas.


RE: a good decision
By Solandri on 3/4/2008 1:45:31 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
The US is approaching the same problem, spending too much on blowing things up

For all the flak the U.S. catches about its military spending, as a percentage of GDP it's actually be gradually declining over the last 60 years:

http://www.truthandpolitics.org/military-relative-...

Also as a percent of GDP, it's not that huge compared to other major Western powers:

http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/mil_exp_per_of_g...

Only about 50%-60% more than France and the U.K. Subtract its protection of Japan by treaty and its NATO presence, and it's military spending would probably be very similar to those two European countries. U.S. military spending is big simply because the U.S. economy is so huge.


RE: a good decision
By Calin on 3/4/2008 6:44:05 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
If you outsource and a real war takes place how are you going to build more planes?


Long gone are the days of World War 2, when planes were built by the thousands:
"With a truly satisfactory Lightning in place, Lockheed ramped up production, working with subcontractors across the country to produce hundreds of Lightnings each month."
You could have maybe a couple new fighter jets a week in the start of a war, and all the ramping up in the world won't probably be able to bring that rate to a hundred a month


RE: a good decision
By michael67 on 3/4/2008 11:58:49 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
but the main reason the US is a world super power is cause our military is top grade

You got be joking right.
Yes in quantity the US outgun EU country's for shore, but when it comes to training and use of what you have, smaller countries out train and out smart US military all the time.

I used to be whit the "Korps Mariniers" whit the dutch navy, and our group did training whit mainly UK Royal Marines/SAS,
And also some whit the Germans, Belgium and Scandinavian counterparts.

Every time we went on a NATO training whit US troops we had the navy seals for breakfast winning on average 5 out 6 encounters.

Because during our training you really learn mouths more to think for your self, and also equipment wise we ware mouths lighter armed (no body armour most of the time ect.) making us more flexible and quicker and more stealthier.

During our training when they say "jump" you don't have to jump up, and ask "how high", but you can actual ask "why" of course its still the navy and for shore you still have to jump.

But that was the main difference i notice between US and Dutch/UK troops when we ware training together.
They ware really surprised of how easy and slack command chain was between the officers and non-officers.

Also most seals look like they are bodybuilders/defence players of American football,
But they properly have to be whit all that junk they are carrying around ^-^


US logistics is bigger and have better satellite intel. ect.
EU logistics is smaller but still gets the job done, and hangs more on human intel. what imho gives better intel.

Same go's for navy, cheap ass (compared to US atomic subs) dutch diesel/electrical subs do havoc during NATO trainings to US forces.

Being small means you have to be more efficient then big country's, usually that ends up also being better trained


RE: a good decision
By mdogs444 on 3/3/2008 9:47:15 AM , Rating: 4
quote:
the "heil america" attitude of your congressmen is ridiculous, after all european countries buy american arms all the time (F104 through F16, for example), and aren't we all in NATO together? not that i'm a big fan of NATO, but there you go.

The "Hail America" attitude of our congressman is not ridiculous. He is a United States congressman - and therefore should have a "Hail America" attitude first and foremost before any other country. Thats part of his job.

European Countries by American arms because American builds the most advanced military equiptment in the world, and has the capacity to produce them at will for the countries who want to buy them.

What the heck does everyone being in NATO have to do with putting your own economy first and foremost? Especially in the day in age when economists are talking about economic slowdown and recession, as well as increasing unemployment rates? I'd say the congressman deserves a steady clapping from the American crowd in standing up for the average American worker who would benefit from the jobs produced if Boeing got the contract....remember, its the US citizens tax dollars that are going to the Air Force to spend on a contract that does not benefit the American worker.

You must be European, because you are seriously mislead about the congressman's intentions, and the average American's attitudes....as well as NATO.

And before you start complaining that American's are pissed that their money is going to a European country, perhaps your countries (EU) should rethink their attitude towards our companies (Microsoft anyone?) when all they do is penalize them to make money.

Get a grip Gul.


RE: a good decision
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 3/3/08, Rating: -1
RE: a good decision
By mdogs444 on 3/3/2008 10:02:51 AM , Rating: 3
First, I wasn't the one complaining - I was responding to a post by the user who bashes the "hail America" attitude of Americans.

Granted that they are going to be assembled to a point in Mobile, AL, its not just the "technology" that is important here. I believe that the profits should go to an American company to help benefit out economy, especially right now with its current state.

Agree, disagree, or pay no nevermind. Doesn't matter, but thats my opinion.


RE: a good decision
By onefastfreak on 3/3/2008 10:53:51 AM , Rating: 2
Agree


RE: a good decision
By RobberBaron on 3/3/2008 10:13:44 AM , Rating: 2
People are up in arms because not ALL the jobs will be on American soil. Personally I think the Air Force did the right thing. They opened the bid, the requirements where met, Northrop won. End of story. Protectionism is bad for everyone. If there wasnt a big election push going on this would be a back page news article.

I second the Stop complaining.


RE: a good decision
By mdogs444 on 3/3/2008 10:20:11 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
If there wasnt a big election push going on this would be a back page news article.

Wrong. If there wasn't a possible economic recession - with a market slowdown and increasing unemployment rates - then this would be back page news.

Unfortunately, that facts are facts, and right now with the state of the US economy, pouring money into other countries right now is a very controversial topic.


RE: a good decision
By ikkeman on 3/3/2008 1:42:40 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Unfortunately, that facts are facts, and right now with the state of the US economy, pouring money into other countries right now is a very controversial topic.


Actually, Boeing hardly builds any part of the 767 - The biggest parts are build in japan (FHI, MHI) and Canada (Canadair) - the rest is build by us competitors of boeing (northrop - the winner of the contract - builds the center wing section of the 767)

At best, this deal would have created 2000 boeing jobs in WA, now at least 1500 northrop jobs are created in Alabama


RE: a good decision
By CubicleDilbert on 3/3/08, Rating: 0
RE: a good decision
By mdogs444 on 3/3/2008 10:33:08 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
it seems you are not anchored in reality and you have little clue about politics and economics. You compensate this with your inflated patriotism. Why don't you buy a little American flag and post it at your desk, as many silly Americans do.

quote:
In Europe this is called hidden subsidies.


So you're a European who thinks American Patriotism is ridiculous, and now you want to lecture me on politics and economics? Laughable. America has the largest economy and strongest military in the world today....because of its "Patriotism".

Perhaps you need to buy a lifeline, or cash in while you're ahead, "Mr Who Wants To Be A Millionaire".


RE: a good decision
By KingConker on 3/3/2008 10:34:57 AM , Rating: 2
You buy the best product for the job.

They did. Simple as.


RE: a good decision
By mdogs444 on 3/3/08, Rating: 0
RE: a good decision
By ATC on 3/3/2008 11:58:54 AM , Rating: 3
I think this is just as good for the american people as had Boeing won the contract. It's laughable to think that any large corporation, american or not, will somehow be looking out for the people instead of it's CEOs, VPs etc.. that somehow Boeing will be the saviour of the economy while Northrop Grumman will not.

Furthermore, for someone who's proud of the military superiority one would think that you'd be for keeping it with the best possible technology/products instead of using an inferior product just because its backers are a bunch of lobbyists.

I'm sorry mate but it's obvious that the flag is wrapped around your eyes.


RE: a good decision
By Duwelon on 3/3/2008 1:40:36 PM , Rating: 1
"I think.."

I don't think you were actually thinking.


RE: a good decision
By AgentPromo on 3/3/2008 10:54:08 AM , Rating: 2
Issues of Patriotism and such aside, the rest of his point has some merit or is at least worth discussing.

The U.S. Air Force should buy what it deems to be the best for its needs. I am not in the Air Force nor do I claim that I should tell them what is best for their needs. So, I let them decide.

Besides, there are three issues leading me to conclude that perhaps the Airbus deal is better or is at least worth considering.

1. http://www.dodig.osd.mil/fo/Foia/tanker.htm

Apparently Boeing does not have clean hands in this issue, and tried to ram a really bad lease deal down the Air Force's Throat. I don't like this and prefer open competition to back room political dealings where there is no oversight. I find this to be more outrageous than outsourcing some aircraft work to Europe.

2. Competition is good! The world is ever expanding. The US, as well as Europe, is having some issues adjusting to the fact that some guy in Mexico or China can do the same job as the american worker at 1/10th the wage. The US, nor Europe, is not going to be a manufacturing behemoth as it was "back in the day". Instead we are moving to an economy where the US develops the Intellectual Property, the ideas etc, for the leading technology innovations for the world. To remain competitive with the rest of the world that is eager to take a cut of this, we have to have fierce competition between companies, as this is the only tried and true method to promote aggressive innovation. Without innovation the US economy is even more dammed than if we continue to lose manufacturing jobs.

3. The military does not exist in a Vacuum. If the Air Force backpedals now the Europeans are going to go crazy, as they already accuse the US of hidden subsidies to its military partners that also compete with Europe in the commercial sector. At worst, Europe will introduce retaliatory actions which will also harm the US economy. So, we would get our manufacturing jobs, but we could very well stand to lose equal to or even more in other sectors that would be hurt by trade issues with Europe. Remember, the EU is a massive place these days, with 500 million people and an estimated 16.6 Trillion dollar GDP, which puts it squarely ahead of the US in these measures.


RE: a good decision
By Ringold on 3/3/2008 11:36:56 AM , Rating: 4
quote:
2. Competition is good!


I think this should be addressed, and no one else has so far..

Competition for fruit is good. Competition for computers is good. Competition for TV, shoes, and cars is good. If the world goes to hell odds are 99% of things can be sourced from different locations, and the remaining 1% won't kill us if we live without until someone can retool and provide the product/service.

The military doesn't exist, though, to make profit. It doesn't exist to even create jobs. It exists to ensure a broader situation exists and continues to exist, perpetually, so that the nation can go about its business. Dan Rather, Democrat as he may be, ran a story a year or so ago on HDNet about some obscure part that was provided by a Swiss manufacturer to the military that was cut off out of objection to the war in Iraq -- if not for some small American firm that had just barely been surviving (he showed a picture and it basically looked like someones garage), we'd of been without it entirely. What if we find ourselves in another war in the future, say over the independence of Taiwan, that the EU doesn't agree with? How can the military do its job when it has to worry about giving its European contractors host nations a stroke job lest it suddenly find itself with only the parts and equipment it has on hand, and no possibility of more?

We're not some small, weak, ineffectual nation that has no choice but to seek out cost savings where ever it may exist -- like much of Europe. Unlike Europe, we also largely hold up our end of the NATO agreement; we must be able to defend Europe at all times, not just when certain contractors feel like it. Not just Europe, but we also give a blank check of support to Israel, South Korea, Japan, Australia, and in theory possibly Taiwan.

Would importing buttons, switches, tires, etc hurt the military? Nah. Is this probably even a good deal? Sure, sounds like Boeing needed a good spanking to get them on track. But 'competition' in an international, globally interdependent sense is not needed in the military industrial complex. That makes no more sense than giving Europe a vote in the Senate -- which is effectively what would be the case should the military ever import large quantities of military equipment from the EU while losing the domestic ability to make the same.

I'm a cold-hearted free-market capitalist, but even Adam Smith noted the separate military role of defense. Requiring 90%, or even 100% if it were practical, of all US military equipment to be manufactured in the US (even if owned by foreign companies, if its at least manufactured here we can, worst-case scenario, take it over) sounds good to me. Again, not for the jobs, but for the perpetual maintenance of national independence.


RE: a good decision
By Amiga500 on 3/3/08, Rating: 0
RE: a good decision
By Entropy42 on 3/3/2008 12:25:52 PM , Rating: 2
Did you even read his post? He's saying it's in the best interests (long-term) of our troops to have American made parts. He's saying that if those parts are made overseas and Airbus decides they don't like our foreign policy one day, the troops may not have planes at all. A plane without wings, now THAT is sub-standard equipment.

For what its worth, I don't like the idea of choosing an inferior plane just to buy American. But I think this point also has a lot of merit.


RE: a good decision
By Amiga500 on 3/3/2008 12:44:52 PM , Rating: 2
You realise that Airbus is a commerical entity spread over many countries - for it to not supply the US parts one day would require the governments of half of Europe to not intervene and force its hand.


RE: a good decision
By ikkeman on 3/3/2008 1:54:52 PM , Rating: 2
actually , the deal partner is EADS, airbus' parent company. EADS is incorporated in the netherlands (Nederland oh nederland, jij bent de kampioen!!)

Due to some disagreement over the international court of justice in The Hague (capital of the netherland - not amsterdam), The US already has a law that it is allowed (acoording to itself) to invade the country if any US national as ever proscecuted by that court.
Just amend that law to also include the parts needed for the tanker and you're in the clear!


RE: a good decision
By Ringold on 3/4/2008 10:39:29 AM , Rating: 2
Wrong. As Chavez has most recently shown, a sovereign nation (European nations do still pretend to be sovereign, correct?) can do as it pleases within its borders. If a part is sources in France, and France replaced Sarkozy with some virulent communist with no love for the US then France could very easily force EADS to no longer export parts made domestically to the US, even if EADS is only 'exporting' parts from its right hand to its left hand, so to speak.

As I pointed out, Dan Rather has already covered a similar story where it's been done. Unfortunately, now all I can find on it is a reference in a Duncan Hunter speech. Note to Dan Rather: Create a blog so I can Google your stories.
http://www.4president.org/speeches/duncanhunter200...

I simply see no reason to allow for even the possibility of a supply disruption. Besides, our EU 'allies' give me little reason to have sympathy. I see no large numbers of French, German or Dutch soldiers fighting valiantly in Southern Afghanistan. Meanwhile, England offers up its heir to the thrown in the mission. If this were only sourcing from the UK and Canada, with our 'special relationship', I wouldn't care, but it sources from continental Europe, a place that already has no love for us. Why hold our defense policy hostage to a socialist continent?


RE: a good decision
By ikkeman on 3/4/2008 12:02:28 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I see no large numbers of French, German or Dutch soldiers fighting


you may have to look further. Though you're right about the dutch, we don't do all that much fighting there - wasn't the mission to rebuild instead of destroy. Bush long ago declared victory. Also, if you stop killing bad poeple and start helping the good - the effect is much better and much less bloody.

Offcourse Boeing sources much of the 767 airframe in Japan and Canada, are they somehow better than the average EUROnation? They do send their soldiers to "fight valliantly?"

C'mon man. Just because the US employs such practices as economic isolation of it's close neighbours (Cuba), and trying to impose their believes on the world (Irak, Afganistan, Vietnam, Afganistan, Korea and Panama), doesn't mean the average EUROcountry does. Even if one nation were to stop production of a part, no parts are allowed to be monosourced and all the production tooling belongs to Airbus/Eads - not france or germany. You'll have the capability and the right to start producing it yourself.

And a single shady example doesn't a problem make - the part was sourced to a US company, right. Just make sure you still have the nescecary production tech and knowledge to build any part of the airplane and there's no more problem


RE: a good decision
By Amiga500 on 3/4/2008 12:07:17 PM , Rating: 2
I am not wrong. I am not even close to being wrong. No matter what your little paranoid mind thinks.

The company that stopped supplying armour to the US is based in one country, and that one country is not part of OTAN/NATO. EADS are based in many countries. As I pointed out, for Airbus to stop supplying parts to the states would require the governments of Spain, UK, France, Germany and Italy (at the very least) to agree with the parts embargo.

Not one of those countries on its own could force a stop-ship of EADS parts to the US - no matter what your imagination thinks.

As for your remarks regarding southern Afghanistan, you could not be more wrong. The British and Canadians are in southern Afghanistan, the Americans mainly to the east, and everyone else everywhere else. Perhaps you begin to question why the American soldiers are coming under more intense attack in comparison to other nations...

Dare I suggest it might be a result of your country's foreign policy - no doubt that suggestion will fall on deaf ears.


RE: a good decision
By rudy on 3/3/2008 3:34:37 PM , Rating: 2
No I think he would throw the contract back to boing and say fix it, make it better make it in the USA, and he would throw it back to northrop and say find a US supplier for the air frame. That is what I would do, I completely agree military need to be made in your own country, PERIOD. The only exception is if you simply cannot make a product and someone else can because they are more intellectually advanced in that case you better be working major OT to catch up and buy from them in the mean time to keep steady.


RE: a good decision
By ikkeman on 3/3/2008 4:10:31 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
buy from them in the mean time to keep steady


and axactly what makes you think this is not the case here???


RE: a good decision
By rudy on 3/3/2008 6:36:55 PM , Rating: 2
Because we aren't in DIRE need of fueling planes right now we could take the time to get it assembled in the US. And they aren't even top end technology.


RE: a good decision
By ikkeman on 3/4/2008 12:11:33 PM , Rating: 2
They are gooing to be assembled in the US.

This replacement competition has been gooing on for 3 years. The current airframes are approaching 50 years of age (three to four times the average commercial airframe age) - it's high time to replace those old, lumbering, fuelguzzling pieces of junk


RE: a good decision
By AgentPromo on 3/3/2008 1:11:38 PM , Rating: 2
I can agree with what you are saying here, especially the idea that if tomorrow France gives the middle finger to the US (or the European Equiv of the middle finger) and decides we dont get any more airframes...it would be rough. But then again we are one of France's largest trading partern and it seems unlikely that they would unilaterally cut off trade with us in the foreseeable future.

However, we are talking about NATO allies here, not "Taliban Inc.". There is no reason the NATO allies should not be able to compete economically with each other so that the entirety of NATO is stronger as a result (i.e. everyone has access to better tankers now than if Boeing had won).

Basically, somewhere these is a balance to be had, and where that balance is is something that has been and will continue to be debated as the future unfolds before us.


RE: a good decision
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 3/3/2008 1:16:19 PM , Rating: 2
I'm pretty sure the U.S. owns most if not all of the aerial refueling tankers in NATO.


RE: a good decision
By ikkeman on 3/3/2008 1:57:03 PM , Rating: 2
the USAF owns about 2/3 of all the aerial refueling capacity in the world.

That they provide most of the capability within NATO would be a safe bet.


RE: a good decision
By elpresidente2075 on 3/3/2008 2:14:07 PM , Rating: 2
Well there you go! Better tankers for the US means better tankers for all of the US allies. The good gets spread all around.


RE: a good decision
By Amiga500 on 3/3/2008 10:59:12 AM , Rating: 2
European Countries by American arms because American builds the most advanced military equiptment in the world, and has the capacity to produce them at will for the countries who want to buy them.

Only because they have often stopped their indigenous designs to buy the ofttimes inferior trash provided by the US with markdowns. Now that design base is gone, and cannot easily be rebuilt.

One glaring instance of such would be the TSR2 for the F-111. It was that bad, the Brits eventually went out and put together the Tornado with Germany and Italy to fill the gap.

Look at the current shape of the Brits with regards the F-35 - the only thing stopping them from jumping off the program is they have no viable (politically) alternative. The Rafale would do the job - but that would be an admission the French were right to insist the FEFA had carrier capability.


RE: a good decision
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 3/3/2008 12:23:14 PM , Rating: 2
F-35 and F-22 are from Locheed, and are far more capable than anything else coming down the pipes. Sure there are European alternative craft but to be perfectly honest they qualify as 4th or 4.5th generation aircraft. F-22 and F-35 are 5th generation aircraft, with the capablities in mind. It's like settling for a fleet carrier when you could have purchased a super carrier. Yea the super carrier costs more, but it also delivers more.


RE: a good decision
By Amiga500 on 3/3/2008 12:49:33 PM , Rating: 2
There are a lot of concerns over exactly what the F-35 'delivers'.

As for the 5th generation aircraft debate, and what makes an aircraft 5th generation, I'll not even go there - suffice to say, the F-35 does not have the RCS many think it does, the export version is even worse. In terms of flight dynamics it is nothing special, I think its kinematic performance is worse than the F-16 in many respects.

Its main plus is the electronics... which are of course limited on export versions.

The F-22 I have no argument with, a superb aircraft.


RE: a good decision
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 3/3/2008 1:15:08 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
As for the 5th generation aircraft debate, and what makes an aircraft 5th generation, I'll not even go there - suffice to say, the F-35 does not have the RCS many think it does, the export version is even worse. In terms of flight dynamics it is nothing special, I think its kinematic performance is worse than the F-16 in many respects.

I disagree with the F-35 being marketed as a STOVL aircraft for the lame excuse for carriers Europe currently uses. It's really designed for U.S. Super Carriers and standard runway based operations, at which it does an excellent job. I'm pretty sure STOVL capabilities were an after thought.

Wikipedia has the jist of the focus on 5th generation aircraft.
quote:
The current cutting edge of fighter design combines previous emphasis on versatility with new developments such as thrust vectoring, short takeoff/landing, composite materials, supercruise, stealth technology, advanced radar and sensors, and integrated avionics designed to reduce the pilot's workload while vastly improving situational awareness.


quote:
Its main plus is the electronics... which are of course limited on export versions.

Yea. All export aircraft are "watered down" simply because we can't guarantee they won't be looked at or sold to our enemies later on.

quote:
The F-22 I have no argument with, a superb aircraft.

Yea, which is why it will never be exported to other countries. It's vastly superior to any other aircraft in our aresenal and we aren't really prepared to go head to head with it ourselves.


RE: a good decision
By Amiga500 on 3/3/2008 1:38:17 PM , Rating: 2
I disagree with the F-35 being marketed as a STOVL

Erm, the only naval buyers over here (The Brits) have an option of putting catapults on their new boats (the two baby carriers are being sold off to no idea where - but they are going). STOVL is not really a necessity for them - otherwise the Rafale would technically not even be an alternative (never mind the politics).

Wiki is wrong - pay no attention to it. For instance, the F-35 does not have thrust vectoring (outside the VTOL nozzle translation). It does not supercruise either.

As regards the F-22, the Australians are making a massive effort to get it exported, so watch that space - the USAF will play ball to try and keep the line open beyond this autumn/fall.


RE: a good decision
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 3/3/2008 2:14:45 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
For instance, the F-35 does not have thrust vectoring (outside the VTOL nozzle translation). It does not supercruise either.

Those are both present on the F-22 however. They "could" be present on the F-35 but well, people want a cheaper aircraft and features have to be cut somewhere to make that happen.

quote:
As regards the F-22, the Australians are making a massive effort to get it exported, so watch that space - the USAF will play ball to try and keep the line open beyond this autumn/fall.

I doubt it. I would be very surprised to see the F-22 exported anywhere in less than 10 years.


RE: a good decision
By TerranMagistrate on 3/3/2008 12:40:53 PM , Rating: 2
Look at the current shape of the Brits with regards the F-35 - the only thing stopping them from jumping off the program is they have no viable (politically) alternative. The Rafale would do the job - but that would be an admission the French were right to insist the FEFA had carrier capability.

Wow, you must be joking.

The Dassault Rafale doesn't even begin to approach the overall capabilities that the Lockheed F-35 brings to the table. The F-35 has stealth and multiple variants for VTOL, naval and airforce requirements thus making it cheaper in the longterm.

The reality may be tough for you to swallow but the U.S. does indeed produce superior military weapons regardless of whether Europe has, is or will be competing.


RE: a good decision
By Amiga500 on 3/3/2008 12:59:58 PM , Rating: 2
The F-35 will fall short of many expectations - the idea that the JSF has all-aspect stealth is one of them. The idea that its frontal RCS is drastically lower than 4.5gen fighters is another. The idea that a VTOL aircraft is good for anything other than short range CAS will be another. I also expect the USN to realise in time operating a hideously expensive single engined aircraft off a large CATOBAR carrier was a pretty stupid idea as well.

If it were not for politics the Rafale would already have a number of foreign sales. It is a very good aircraft. The Brits have already had discussions with Dassault regarding the Rafale, in spite of the u-turn it would mean - that shows just how fed up they are with the JSF.

I have already pointed out why the US does now produce many "superior" designs.


RE: a good decision
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 3/3/2008 1:22:54 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
It is a very good aircraft.

It's not bad. But short of fleet defense and escort it's pretty lousy. I find the F-18 Super Hornet to be far more bang, but then again that's what it's designed for. The Rafale is also not designed with stealth in mind, in a stand up fight I would put my money on the F-35 shooting down the Rafale. Not saying that's a bad thing, but does Europe really want "more of the same". I think they are quite interested in the whole concept of stealthy aircraft that the U.S. military is persuing. Heck everything in the U.S. is geared around stealth these days. They want Stealth planes, stealth UAV's, stealth bombers, stealth boats, stealth landing craft. It's quite the concept. The eurofighter is fairly decent compared to the Rafale. I would argue that the Eurofighter is actually slightly better.


RE: a good decision
By Amiga500 on 3/3/2008 1:47:39 PM , Rating: 1
I find the F-18 Super Hornet to be far more bang, but then again that's what it's designed for.

Don't even go there man! You'll have me on a rant all week. I'll drop out 95% of it for this post though...

The F/A-18 E/F is the bastard child of the F/A-18 A/D, which is itself the rejected baby of the LWF contest.

The -18 was NEVER intended for carrier ops from the outset, quite why the USN have continued to develop this abject failure of an airframe is beyond me. Top class electrics in the Subpar Hornet, but little else to go along with it.

To put it into perspective, the kinematic performance of a superhornet is probably the worst of any new fighter aircraft in... well, definitely in 30 years, probably 40 too.

I'll put money on right now the Rafale has a lower RCS than the E/F - from pretty much all azimuthal angles.

The Rafale was designed much more with RCS in mind than the S-H. The USN propaganda proclaims the SH as some kinda 4.5+gen stealth aircraft - it is anything but... some RAM treatment and a couple of baffles in the engine intakes qualifies as semi-stealthy? Not in my book anyway.


RE: a good decision
By skyward on 3/4/2008 1:53:30 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I'll put money on right now the Rafale has a lower RCS than the E/F - from pretty much all azimuthal angles.


I guess you have not seem the Rafale before or you would not have miss the big vertical stabilizer. What about the fix air refueling probe? I guess they miss that when they try to keep RCS in mind unlike the F-18E. Don’t forget the inlet of the Rafale is similar to F-18A. That is a stealth design. Not...


RE: a good decision
By Amiga500 on 3/4/2008 5:11:18 AM , Rating: 2
Having the rudder and associated planes vertical instead of canted does not make all that big a difference to the whole RCS thing. There are other considerations for only having one.

The Fixed air refueling probe you refer to is shrouded in RAM... but you never troubled yourself to find that out. Dassault studied it, and came to the conclusion that a fixed one while marginally increasing RCS, was lighter, less likely to fail and more robust for operations.

The inlet duct of the Rafale is nothing like the short straight duct of the F-18 (A-D). Its a serpentine duct, much like the F-22...

You obviously know what your talking about... not.


RE: a good decision
By skyward on 3/4/2008 12:42:23 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Having the rudder and associated planes vertical instead of canted does not make all that big a difference to the whole RCS thing. There are other considerations for only having one.

Not if you view it from the side. Dont you say "all azimuthal angles".

I don’t say inlet duct, did I? I say inlet. The F-18F has a different inlet then the F-18A. It’s similar to the inlet as the F-22. Beside both F-18F and Rafale have the serpentine duct and both use RAM.


RE: a good decision
By Amiga500 on 3/4/2008 1:40:48 PM , Rating: 2
You do know that the exact same applies for canted fins - except the angle is different? Nah, of course you didn't. You read that the F-22 and F-35 have canted fins for alignment of surfaces and thought "ooohhh, that equals stealth".

You can do the exact same with a vertical fin if you wanted. Making it a diamond cross section gives you only 2 direct return angles, with scatter levels being a function of RAM treatment - which the SH, JSF and Rafale all having.

The F-18 E/F has a baffle within the inlet - one of the reasons the kinematic performance of the e/F is even worse than the A/D versions. The duct of the E/F is NOTHING like the F-22, absolutely NOTHING like it. It is NOT serpentine.

The E/F applies RAM to leading and trailing edges, has a baffle in the nacelle intakes and thats about it for radar treatment... not quite the LO penetrator the USN would have you believe eh?


RE: a good decision
By skyward on 3/4/2008 9:11:27 PM , Rating: 2
Canted vertical tails do have a low RCS then vertical tail fin. F-22 and F-35 have them and SR-71 have a Canted tails too. I have not seem a stealth fighter tail design that don't use something similar to a canted vertical tails. Yes, I read Q/A about the f-22 and the f-18 tail from here
http://www.aerospaceweb.org/question/planes/q0157....

You can use a diamond cross section of the vertical tail, but I dont see diamond cross section on the Rafale vertical tail.


RE: a good decision
By skyward on 3/3/2008 11:08:32 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The F-35 will fall short of many expectations - the idea that the JSF has all-aspect stealth is one of them. The idea that its frontal RCS is drastically lower than 4.5gen fighters is another.


I'm should you know what the true frontal RCS of the f-35 or 4.5gen fighter when most of those numbers are still top secret. I have done all of research about the f-35 and all it point to have a drastically lower than 4.5gen.

quote:
The idea that a VTOL aircraft is good for anything other than short range CAS will be another.

The f-35b has a better range then the f-16c.

quote:
I also expect the USN to realise in time operating a hideously expensive single engined aircraft off a large CATOBAR carrier was a pretty stupid idea as well.

I guess it a pretty stupid idea, but USN have use single engine fighter before. They work out pretty well.

quote:
If it were not for politics the Rafale would already have a number of foreign sales. It is a very good aircraft. The Brits have already had discussions with Dassault regarding the Rafale, in spite of the u-turn it would mean - that shows just how fed up they are with the JSF.

Yea, I remember reading about that. However, the Brits sign up for the JSF and there were no word about Rafale after that.

I heard the French government itself is why Rafale can't get a sale. From what happen with Morocco deal, I believe it.


RE: a good decision
By Amiga500 on 3/4/2008 5:16:54 AM , Rating: 1
RCS - from the frontal quadrant, the RCS reduction of the F-35 (and to a lesser extent) the F-22 is not that significant over 4.5 gen designs, which all have leading edge RAM treatment and most do not have direct paths to the compressor face.

F-35B range... yeah, taking off how, and with exactly how many missiles on board? Quoting F-35B maximum range from wikipedia is not going to give you the answer you seek.

Re. Single engined fighter - nothing (single engined) the USN has put to sea costs quite this much - they could find the JSF much more expensive to operate than the Tomcat.

Have the Brits finalised on the F-35? I thought they had yet to sign on the dotted line for anything beyond demo craft (1 or 2 IIRC).


RE: a good decision
By skyward on 3/4/2008 3:08:26 PM , Rating: 2
The 5 gen design have a low RCS then 4.5 gen even without RAM. It is easy to just add RAM on leading edge and hide the compressor face. A 5 gen design not only adds RAM but redesign the leading edge to low RCS. Not only that, it have a lot low RCS with combat load.

The F-35B combat range is 450nm for STVOL with a war load on two amraam and two 1000lb bomb. This is the operational requirement set by the f-35B program.

The fact is single engine fighters have a lower operation cost then a two engine fighter. The F-35 is said to have 50% lower operate cost then the fight it replace. To the change that the JSF have a high operation cost then the Tomcat is funny. The reason the Tomcat was can was the high operation cost

Brits have not finalized to buy the F-35, but it was give a way that they will finalized in the few years. They have invented too much in the program to back out now.


RE: a good decision
By rudy on 3/3/2008 3:38:12 PM , Rating: 2
You are right exactly why Americans should not buy your junk at a discount so we dont get stuck in the same situation you are in.


RE: a good decision
By Duwelon on 3/3/2008 1:35:48 PM , Rating: 2
They buy American because they're superior to anything europe can find elsewhere.


RE: a good decision
By ikkeman on 3/3/2008 2:03:21 PM , Rating: 2
indeed

and this time the US bought EUR because they're far superior to anything america can find anywhere else


RE: a good decision
By ikkeman on 3/3/2008 6:06:44 PM , Rating: 2
why rate this down?


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