Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Air Force Tankers, Barack Obama's superdelegates

After the Read More! That Air Force tanker deal. Does Obama have 50 new superdelegates?

Former Spook explains why Boeing lost the Air Force tanker bid.

But Boeing's biggest blunder was, arguably, it's initial plan to lease 767 tankers to the Air Force. First approved in 2003, the deal was later abrogated when it was learned that the aircraft manufacturer had offered jobs to the service's senior civilian contracting official and two members of her family. The contracting official, Darlene Druyun, later served a 9-month prison sentence and two Boeing executives were convicted as well.

Not only did the tanker lease result in a huge fine, it also made Boeing "radioactive" in terms of future, big-ticket contracts. With an already-tight procurement budget, the Air Force did not want a rehash of the tanker lease controversy. And, with Northrop-Grumman offering more capability (at a slightly higher price), the service found it easy to justify the KC-30, heading off potential criticism that would come with a new Boeing deal.

Hot Air carries a clip of Tom Brokow claiming Barack Obama has 50 superdelegates ready to go public for him in a short time.

One commenter suggests that Barack Obama has big pockets for a supposedly empty suit.

The Belmont Club is supported largely by donations from its readers.

The Belmont Club is supported largely by donations from its readers.


Blogger newscaper said...

I'm in Mobile, AL where the new Northrop/EADS plant will be built at the former Brookley AFB.

I'd already surmised that it had to take something big to overcome th eobvious draw of keeping the contracts entirely US -- namely the stink if Boeing got it, and more charges of corruption.

Hmm... depending on how Machiavellian one wants to be, perhaps the USAF really *does* want Boeing to get it, but doing it this way, if Congress overrules them to bring home the bacon$$, then the AF is off the hook either way.

Interesting sidenote, Brookley AFB was a *huge* logistics & supply base from WW2 up thru the late 60s. The rumor here in Alabama is that LBJ axed it out of spite as the state (or this part) voted against him in '64. Its good that Brookley is continuing its comeback because it is one of the very few sites in the US that has a super-long (B-5s capable) runway, a major interstate, deepwater port access, and rail immediately adjacent.

3/04/2008 01:39:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

That’s not the only missteps Boeing made. A mile down the road from me is a guy I know who left Lockheed Martin and sold Boeing trade secrets. That resulted in them losing some of the Delta IV contacts they had won.

This was not the first recent procurement that a U.S. firm lost to the Euros, just the biggest. The Euros also won the contract to replace the President’s helicopters and another one to supply non-combat helicopters.

The U.S. Aerospace industry made a lot of mistakes in the 90’s and is suffering as result. For the Presidential buy they offered choppers that were not yet developed and for the other buy some redesigned Hueys. Time to clean house.

Meanwhile, to the south 20 miles is a Northrup Grumman plant where they built the JSTARs and where they will be doing some of the tanker work.

3/04/2008 02:22:00 PM  
Blogger Peter Grynch said...

So now the Air Force, which pays $200 to buy a hammer, will have to buy all new METRIC tools to maintain their planes!?!?

Are we really saving money?

3/04/2008 05:15:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

We don't think it's an "attaboy" bribe to reward Sarko for his new pro-American attitude?

Maybe now he can find jobs to put all those "flaming youths" to work and get them off the streets at night.

Moroccan pyromaniac Muslims in France putting together American war planes ... makes logical sense to me.

3/04/2008 06:21:00 PM  
Blogger Fat Man said...

This isa very deep game. The trade off for the Tanker contract my be European purchases of the F35.

What I really want to know is why Boeing didn't come back with a more capable airplane in its proposal. I though it would be a natural for the C-17.

3/04/2008 10:33:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

While the 767 was an old airplane on which to base the tanker, Boeing did not have many other choices. They already have built military versions of the 767, including tankers, and the 777 is way too big an airplane. Fuel is dense compared to most things; the inside of a KC-135 is mostly empty. Using a widebody like the 777 makes the problem even worse. As for the C-17, I think it would require major changes, and besides that, in terms of width it is a fatty as well. It also almost certainly costs much more than an airliner derivative.

3/05/2008 04:38:00 AM  
Blogger Soldier's Dad said...

"But Boeing's biggest blunder was, arguably, it's initial plan to lease 767"

The whole point of basing something on a commercial airframe is to get the benefits of economy of scale. The 767 production line is running at 1/month. The AirForce tends to keep its airplanes for twice as long as commercial airlines. Being the "last customer" for the 767 means that 20 years from now, the AirForce would be the only customer for parts.

Boeing didn't get the deal because congress is tired of subsidizing low rate productions lines.

3/05/2008 07:51:00 AM  
Blogger Fat Man said...

"Fuel is dense compared to most things; the inside of a KC-135 is mostly empty."

Then wouldn't a 737 derivative. Make sense and be pretty cheap as well?

3/05/2008 04:41:00 PM  
Blogger Fat Man said...

I am not sure the Democrats want to make an issue of this. BTW, I thought Democrats wanted good relations with France?

"Lawmakers Threaten to Kill Tanker Deal" by David M. Herszenhorn in the NYTimes on March 6, 2008:

* * *

The lawmakers, including Representative John P. Murtha, Democrat of Pennsylvania, the chairman of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, said they were troubled that the contract announced by the Air Force last week puts a huge military construction program substantially in the hands of a foreign company, the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company, or EADS. And they bluntly warned that they could squash it. ...

“Having made sure that Iraq gets new schools, roads, bridges and dams that we deny America, now we are making sure that France gets the jobs that Americans used to have,” said Representative Rahm Emanuel, Democrat of Illinois. “We are sending the jobs overseas, all because John McCain demanded it.”

* * *

Under the deal that Mr. McCain helped scuttle, the Air Force would have leased tankers from Boeing under a sole source contract. That deal collapsed from a scandal that led to the departure of Boeing’s chief executive, the resignation of the secretary of the Air Force and the imprisonment of two Boeing executives, including one who was the former Pentagon acquisition officer on the tanker program. Another Pentagon official involved later committed suicide.

... “I have always insisted that the Air Force buy major weapons through fair and open competition,” Mr. McCain said after the new tanker contract was announced. He also said that the impact on American jobs should not be a primary concern. “I’ve always felt that the best thing to do is to create the best weapons system we can at minimum cost to taxpayers,” Mr. McCain said.

* * *

Mr. Murtha also noted that the two major Democratic candidates for president, Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York and Barack Obama of Illinois, had expressed opposition to the deal with Northrop Grumman.

3/06/2008 12:50:00 PM  

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