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Author Topic: Northrop Grumman/Airbus pulls out of Air Force tanker bid (MORE updates)  (Read 3987 times)
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JohnBrowdie
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« on: March 08, 2010, 04:19:34 pm »

if this is actually the final chapter of this odd story, I will be surprised.  there have been more twists to the tanker saga than the grand slalom in the last winter olympics.  boeing won, but was disqualified and a bunch of people went to jail.  then Airbus/EADS won, but the contract was overturned on appeal to the GAO.  and now apparently Boeing has won again.

maybe they shoulda just flipped a coin.

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Northrop Grumman pulls out of Air Force tanker bid

Northrop Grumman has decided not to bid on a contract to build the next generation of refueling tankers for the Air Force, a move that leaves Boeing as the sole competitor for the roughly $40 billion Pentagon deal, according to sources familiar with the company's plans.

The Los Angeles-based contracting giant is expected to announce its decision later Monday after the close of financial markets, according to the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the matter.

A Northrop spokesman declined to comment.

One source briefed on the decision said that Northrop executives decided that the Pentagon's insistence on a firm, fixed-price contract would have made it hard for the company to profit from producing the new aircraft. Northrop had put in a bid to build the tanker with its partner Airbus, which is owned by Paris-based defense giant European Aeronautic Defence & Space.

The tanker bid is one of the most drawn-out and expensive procurement efforts in the Pentagon's history. The Air Force needs to replace its aging fleet of aerial refueling tankers, but the contract has now failed to get off the ground twice. Last year, the award of the lucrative deal to Northrop was overturned after a Boeing protest. And in 2004 an ethics scandal ended a deal to give the tanker bid to Boeing.

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« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2010, 11:36:57 am »

the french are understandably hacked off.  it seems that the air force rewrote the requirements to specifically require an airframe with a smaller footprint.  it burns less fuel, and the A330 wouldn't fit in the current maintenance hangers.  that was apparently a big deal. 

sarkozy will be visiting washington later this month, and will use that opportunity to object personally to president obama regarding our "anti-competitive practices".  funny, huh?  the french griping about anti-competitive practices.  we just raided a dozen toyota suppliers in this country in partnership with people in the EU that are ostensibly there to ensure competition.

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Europe in attack on US over air tanker deal

European countries have accused Washington of foul play after the continent's largest aero-space and defence company pulled out of a multibilliondollar race to supply the US -military, alleging unfair -competition.

Ministers in the UK, France and Germany, as well as the European Commission, hinted at possible repercussions from the collapse of the $50bn (£33bn) tender to supply the US Air Force with 179 air refuelling tankers.

EADS and Northrop Grumman, its US partner, decided on Monday night to pull out of the tender after concluding that, under current rules, their larger A330 tanker could not win.

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« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2010, 11:43:55 am »

interesting.  northrop/airbus dropped out of the competition just days after washington state democrat and boeing backer norm dicks took over as house defense appropriations chairman.

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Dicks to succeed Murtha as top House Defense appropriator

Rep. Norm Dicks (D-Wash.) will succeed the late Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) as chairman of the powerful House Appropriations Defense subcommittee.

The move, approved by the House Democratic Caucus Tuesday, was expected, as Dicks had served as the second most-senior member of the subcommittee, which approves the military budget.

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« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2010, 03:10:45 pm »

I thought that the tanker saga had another twist or two left in it.

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EADS considers bid for $35B tanker contract

EADS North America is considering competing for the Air Force's high-stakes tanker aircraft program as the principal contractor.

If EADS decides to compete, it will go head to head with Boeing. EADS, the parent company of Airbus, was partnered with Northrop Grumman for the competition, but Northrop decided to withdraw.

EADS's signal that it’s considering a solo bid for the more than $35 billion contract will extend one of the most intense and politically charged battles for a Pentagon program.

For EADS to compete, however, the Pentagon would have to significantly extend the May 10 deadline for the submission of the bids. EADS spokesman Guy Hicks said the extension of the deadline is "essential" in his company's decision to bid, but it is not the "only factor."

EADS on Friday issued a statement in reaction to Pentagon statements that Defense Department officials would consider a reasonable extension of the request-for-proposal (RFP) deadline and would welcome EADS's participation as a prime contractor.

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« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2010, 04:31:33 pm »

I said it was a strange story, but I didn't think it was going to get THIS strange



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Russian Firm to Bid on Air Force Tanker Program

In another twist to the ongoing saga to replace the Air Force's aging fleet of aerial refueling tankers, United Aircraft Corp. of Russia is planning to bid on the $40 billion contract, according to a person familiar with its plans.

United Aircraft, an aerospace consortium owned by the Russian government, will seek to offer a tanker version of its Ilyushin Il-96 wide-body jetliner, dubbed the Il-98, this person said. The planes would be largely built in Russia, and assembled in the U.S., this person says. United Aircraft will partner with a "small U.S. defense contractor," which will be renamed United Aircraft Corp. America Inc., this person said, declining to name that contractor.

"UAC will publicly announce by Monday morning the signing of the joint venture agreement for the first of what is hoped to be many opportunities in the U.S.," says John Kirkland, a Los Angeles-based attorney representing UAC.

A Pentagon spokeswoman said, "the Department of Defense remains committed to a fair and open competition and welcomes proposals from all qualified offerors."

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« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2010, 08:57:10 am »

it was almost a requirement that we have another screwy twist to the tale since this story has been screwy from the beginning.

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Russia denies bid for U.S. air tanker contract

 MOSCOW, March 22 (Reuters) - Russia denied on Monday that its state-run United Aviation Corporation (UAC) planned to bid for a $50 billion contract to replace the U.S. Air Force's fleet of air tankers, rivalling Boeing Co and Europe's EADS.

John Kirkland, a Los Angeles-based attorney, had told various news media over the weekend that UAC would announce a joint venture on Monday with a U.S. defence contractor to enter the bidding for the tanker deal.

UAC denied it had held any talks on bidding for the contract. "We have not been holding, are not holding and are not planning to hold such talks," said a UAC official.

Separately, UAC vice-president Alexander Tulyakov said the attorney did not work for the company. "John Kirkland is not a UAC representative and we have had no communications with him (about the tender)," he told Reuters.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had not discussed any Russian role in the contract when they met on Friday, Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. "It was not a topic at the talks," he told Reuters.

The U.S. Air Force has been trying for nearly a decade to replace its fleet of Boeing-built KC-135 tanker aircraft, which are close to 50 years old.

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« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2010, 12:10:28 pm »

EADS is back in, and looking for a north american partner.  yet ANOTHER twist in an already unbelievably twisted story.  holy crap.  maybe boeing and EADS should partner up, and just get this whole thing over with.

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EADS will compete for Air Force tanker contract

European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co. will bid on the U.S. Air Force's $35 billion aerial refueling tanker contract on its own, the company announced Tuesday.

The Airbus parent will put an A330-based KC-45 tanker up against Boeing's 767-based NewGen tanker, EADS executives said. The announcement comes more than a month after Northrop Grumman, EADS' former lead tanker partner, pulled out of the contest, which would replace existing KC-135 tankers with 179 new planes.

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« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2010, 01:05:52 pm »

it's hard to be a more controversial chairman of the defense appropriations subcommittee than john murtha was, but this dicks guy seems to be getting off to a great start.  he is pretty much saying that he will not be, and does not have to be, impartial when he is acting as the subcommittee chairman.

alabama is a red state.  washington is a blue state.  the red state loses.

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Dicks defends himself over Boeing tanker flap
WASHINGTON -- A pugnacious Rep. Norm Dicks defended himself Tuesday against accusations that he exploited his chairmanship of the House defense appropriations subcommittee to try to torpedo a revised bid for the Air Force tanker contract from Boeing rival EADS.

A simmering controversy over Dicks erupted Monday after two members of Alabama's congressional delegation publicly accused Dicks of warning off American defense contractors from partnering with European Aeronautic Defence and Space (EADS) for the $40 billion Pentagon contract.

Sen. Jeff Sessions, an Alabama Republican, said Dicks engaged in "brazenly inappropriate behavior" by declaring that he did not understand why any defense contractor would pair up with EADS. Dicks said he hoped EADS would not rebid for the tanker contract.

EADS announced Tuesday that it will go ahead with a solo bid against Boeing. EADS's previous partner, Northrop Grumman, dropped out of the competition last month after concluding that the Pentagon's specifications for the tankers favored the smaller Boeing plane.

Dicks rejected charges that he was using intimidation to secure the order for Boeing. Dicks also denied putting pressure on potential bidders, saying that he merely offered his opinion when reporters or others asked for his position.

"They asked me the question and I answered it truthfully," Dicks, a Democrat from Bremerton, said. "We don't need a big airplane."
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Dicks contends that he shouldn't have to mute his views because he chairs the subcommittee. And, he said, the political flap doesn't change the fact that the ultimate decision on which tankers to buy will be made by the Pentagon.

"I don't conduct the competition," Dicks said. The controversy "has nothing to do with anything."

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« Reply #8 on: April 29, 2010, 12:50:26 pm »

Gee, that doesn't sound good...maybe we should, I dunno, BUY A NEW TANKER.  I know fairness and competitive bidding are important, and that we're talking about a LOT of money, but this is a legitimate matter of national defense.  Right now, the only type of unit for an Air Force maintainer more difficult to work in than a tanker unit is a B-52 unit, and that is due to the complexity of the aircraft in addition to the countless mods they've done, not just its age.  Keeping our current tanker fleet in the air comes solely off the backs of maintenance units, and it's gone on far too long.  Let's quit going around in circles with these bidding wars and start building some #$&! airplanes.


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U.S. Transportation Command’s latest mobility requirements study has found that the military’s current aerial refueling capacity is as much as 20 percent shy of what could be needed in major conflict, service officials told lawmakers Wednesday.

“In one case, we would need 103 percent of what we have now, and 120 percent in an air-and-naval campaign scenario,” said Air Force Brig. Gen. Michelle Johnson, adding it would use a mix of 59 Air Force KC-10s, 450 KC-135s and 79 U.S. Marine Corps KC-130s.

Johnson, director of policy and strategy at TransCom, spoke during a House Armed Services air and land forces subcommittee hearing. She did not describe the other scenario.

One of the main contributors to the tanker shortage is that 19 percent of the nation’s 50-year-old KC-135s are in depot maintenance at any given time due to their age. That’s something that a new tanker would address.

“A new aircraft would immediately provide more availability and better mission capable rates,” compared with the geriatric KC-135s, Johnson said.

More:  http://www.airforcetimes.com/news/2010/04/airforce_tanker_transcom_refueling_042910w/
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« Reply #9 on: May 05, 2010, 12:15:48 am »

the pentagon has pushed the contract announcement beyond the midterm elections.  I am sure that this has nothing to do with politics, since the president seems to think that only people that disagree with him do things for political reasons, or to score poetical points.

the president is the vestal virgin of political gamesmanship.

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Boeing, EADS to learn tanker-bid winner in Nov.

The Pentagon is delaying the award of a huge contract for its new tanker jet by almost three months, pushing it past the November elections.

The contract is worth at least $35 billion to build 179 refueling jets. Bids are expected from Boeing Co. and European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co.

The Pentagon's choice between Boeing, based in Chicago, and France-based EADS will be highly charged. Each company has allies in Congress who are eyeing jobs promised for their districts.

Asked whether it aimed to choose a winner before the elections, Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said on March 31 that politics are not a factor. The Pentagon did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Tuesday.
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The Pentagon had said it would still try to award the contract in the early fall.

But the new date of Nov. 12 is almost three months later than the previous date — even though the bid deadline was extended only two months. The Pentagon included the new date in a little-noticed update to the bidding procedures on Thursday, telling bidders they should "prepare their proposals assuming a contract start date" of Nov. 12. The change was reported by The Air Force Times.

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« Reply #10 on: May 18, 2010, 10:21:22 am »

Oh brother.

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Boeing is considering not bidding for the Air Force’s KC-X tanker contract, a company source said May 14.

That would leave Europe’s EADS — which earlier this year had threatened its own pullout — as the sole bidder for the multibillion-dollar prize.

CEO Jim McNerney and other executives are privately debating whether their company can even win, much less make a profit, on the fixed-price contract, one senior Boeing executive said.

“Is it conceivable that we wouldn’t bid?” the executive said. “We are proud of the fleet and want it to win the contract so the Air Force keeps flying our planes. Your heart says you have to be part of it, but a CEO’s job is to make sure that the heart doesn’t make a decision the head can’t live with.”

Boeing spokesman Damien Mills insisted May 13 that the firm will bid.

But Boeing supporters have long complained that illegal subsidies would lower EADS’ bid price, and company officials have said for several weeks that the Pentagon appears to have shifted requirements to favor the European firm.

More:  http://www.airforcetimes.com/news/2010/05/defense_boeing_bid_051410/
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« Reply #11 on: May 21, 2010, 11:26:57 am »

boeing denies the air force times report, but those guys usually know what they are talking about. it's hard to keep in mind that this never ending controversy is all about buying planes that dispense fuel.  that seems relatively straightforward.  but we just can't seem to get this one right, no matter what we do.

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Boeing Denies Air Force Times Tanker Report
The Boeing Company is denying a report that it is considering dropping out of the U.S. Air Force tanker refueler competition. The story showed up in the online newspaper for the Air Force Sunday.

The Air Force Times report quotes an anonymous Boeing senior executive saying the company doesn't want to be in a position where it has no chance of winning.

EADS - the European competitor - has said in the past that it would underbid Boeing in the competition to replace America's aging KC-135 fleet. Boeing has always contended that the reason EADS can provide the lower bid is because it has received billion of dollars in subsidies from European governments over the past four decades.

Boeing's official statement to KAKE News today came in the form of an email from spokesperson Bill Barksdale.

"The Boeing Company intends to bid in the refueling tanker competition," Barksdale said. "We will submit an American made, combat-ready tanker that is the lowest cost to the taxpayer and warfighter."

The new twist is the latest in the back-and-forth politics that has been plaguing the Air Force for the last seven or eight years. The deadline to submit bids to the Pentagon was pushed back to November earlier this month.

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« Reply #12 on: July 13, 2010, 09:02:02 pm »

it's official.  antonov is bidding.  the russians (well, the ukranians) are IN.

holy CRAP what a strange story.  I would hate for my career to hinge on this decision;  there appear to be no right answers.  no matter which plane is chosen, the poo is going to fly faster than the planes do.

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Dark-horse team enters bidding for Pentagon tanker contract

The Pentagon entered the home stretch to replace its fleet of 1950s-era Air Force refueling tankers with three bids turned in by Friday's deadline.

The bids for the $35-billion program to build the planes used to refuel U.S. fighter jets and bombers in mid-flight included expected ones from Boeing Co. and Airbus parent European Aeronautic Defense & Space Co., or EADS, two of the world's largest aerospace giants.

But they also included a last-minute surprise entry from a dark-horse team: small, cash-strapped U.S. Aerospace Inc. of Santa Fe Springs and former Soviet Union plane manufacturer Antonov of Ukraine.

It was the latest twist in the Pentagon's decade-long attempt to hand out one of the largest military contracts in U.S. history.

The Pentagon has been trying to replace its fleet of 415 refueling tankers since 2001. The contract has twice been awarded — and twice canceled amid accusations of backroom politics and discriminatory rule-making.

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« Reply #13 on: July 14, 2010, 03:14:20 pm »

I am sorry, but military contracts should ONLY be issued to USA firms.  What are we doing here?  Have we lost our minds.

Screw these foreign firms.  One more indicator the world or globe is truly being controlled by the lies of the Bilderburgers, or like group.  All part of the NEW WORLD ORDER big daddy Bush talked about incessantly.

REMEMBER WHEN THE USA HAD ITS OWN SOVEREIGNTY?Huh?Huh???

But that is ok, you know it alls out there that find it so difficult that a handful of people can control this planet, you keep believing all is well in the garden.  Maybe you will find a Chauncey Gardner to put up for president next time!!!!!!!!!!!   .........because you could not get much worse with the last two picks for president, what I refer to as the Dumb and Dumber Administrations!
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« Reply #14 on: December 04, 2010, 08:50:35 pm »

if the DoD doesn't get serious, F-15s will be landing at the local Texaco to refuel.

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Boeing Wants Answers on Air Force Tanker-Data Error

Boeing Co. asked the U.S. Air Force for details on how data on its bid to build an aerial refueling tanker was handled by competitor European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co., after the military mistakenly sent information from each company to its rival.

“We are not sure how much our data may have been exposed,” Dennis Muilenburg, chief of Boeing’s Defense, Space and Security unit, said in an interview today at Bloomberg’s New York headquarters. “We just have some unanswered questions, and we have asked the Air Force those questions and until we get a response, we keep our options open.” He declined to specify the options.

The Air Force disclosed Nov. 19 that it mistakenly provided Chicago-based Boeing and EADS with “a limited amount” of data on the other’s offer proposal for the $35 billion tanker program. Those bids are now under government review. The single page of data released included combat-mission analysis, not price information, the Air Force said last week.

Boeing and EADS, which has headquarters in Paris and Munich, are vying for a contract to replace 179 of the Pentagon’s fleet of more than 500 KC-135 tankers. The jets are pivotal because the U.S. military depends on in-flight refueling to extend the range of combat and transport planes.

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