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The Air Force tanker drama continues...

The ongoing saga between Northrop Grumman/EADS, Boeing, the Air Force, Congress, and the Government Accountability Office (GAO) continues to languish on in the face of an aging tanker fleet. Northrop Grumman/EADS formally won the contract earlier this year -- the $35B contract would have given the Air Force 179 Airbus A330-based KC-45 aircraft to replace 531 KC-135 tankers.

Boeing filed an official protest of the deal with the GAO in early March and received redemption in mid-June when the GAO agreed that errors were made during the selection process. "We recommended that the Air Force reopen discussions ... obtain revised proposals, re-evaluate the revised proposals, and make a new source selection decision, consistent with our decision," said the GAO at the time.

It now appears that Boeing isn't quite satisfied with just having the competition reopened -- according to the Wall Street Journal, it now wants more time to design a suitable aircraft to meet the Air Force's needs or it is threatening to walk away from the competition altogether. Boeing now wants an additional six months to submit a proper bid that the Air Force would be willing to accept.

"I think the option we would have if we were not given the six months, there is a really high likelihood that we would no-bid the program," said Boeing defense unit head Jim Albaugh.

The Defense Department is already considering giving both Northrop Grumman/EADS and Boeing two additional months to submit new bids for the competition according to close sources, but Boeing's Albaugh said that is not enough. "This is an airplane that's going to be in the inventory 40 years. What we're asking for is an additional four months to have a meaningful competition."

For Boeing, the request for more time and the threat of a "no-bid" is somewhat of a payback to Northrop Grumman/EADS which performed a similar feat back in 2007. The maneuvering by Northrop Grumman/EADS forced the Air Force to make some changes to the requirements for the competition that put Boeing's entry at a disadvantage.

Boeing's current proposal is based around a 767-200 airframe -- it is simply too small and doesn't meet the fuel capacity requirements of the Air Force. Albaugh acknowledges that without the extra time to bid a larger version of the 767-200, it will lose the contract.

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RE: This is getting ridiculous...
By DASQ on 8/22/2008 12:39:34 PM , Rating: 2
By 'bigger, faster, cheaper' he really means "trying to keep afloat in the world economy that is reducing reliance on the American consumerism".

Neither of the bidders are building an 'All American' contract. This is not World War 2. Get into the present already. American companies thinking like you (and your root reply) are the ones going to tank (ba-dum TSH!) first.

By MrBlastman on 8/22/2008 12:55:42 PM , Rating: 2
Please note I only mentioned the Military.

I also mentioned I'm perfectly ok with foreign collaboration on everything else. In fact, foreign collaboration is neccesary on everything else.

I realize neither are building an 'All American' contract, but, it doesn't hurt to keep the planning and design within America. In the end, if we had to, we could produce the parts needed to sustain the aircraft far easier this way than if the design was from foreign soil.

RE: This is getting ridiculous...
By ElFenix on 8/23/2008 1:22:39 PM , Rating: 3
in WW2 our best fighter had an english engine. the P-51 Mustange was not THE P-51 Mustang until it got the Merlin.

"This is from the It's a science website." -- Rush Limbaugh

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