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View Full Version : Boeing noses out competition for 35B tanker



BonMallari
02-25-2011, 12:11 AM
congrats to all my Washington friends who may or may not be affected by Boeing beating out the Alabama based EADS group for the Air Force 35 billion dollar air tanker project...dont know if politics played into the equation and decision :rolleyes:

http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/manufacturing/2011-02-24-air-force-contract_N.htm

Granddaddy
02-25-2011, 08:36 AM
We all know politics played "the" role in that decision.

BrianW
02-25-2011, 09:07 AM
Along with a contract for the Navy's new unmanned bomber from Northrop Grumman, http://www.navytimes.com/news/2011/02/navy-x-47b-debut-flight-a-success-northrop-grumman-says-020511w/ one has to wonder, in light of our current budget situation, how many of these planes will actually get into the air.
At 558+ M per plane for the tanker at the full contract pricing, I hope that the folks in Kansas & Washington don't go hog wild buying new cars and such. I was part of the crew that helped develop the B-2 and had first hand experience with the budget cuts on that program. :(
I'm not arguing with the need to keep our inventory up to date (The planes will replace tankers designed/built during the Eisenhower era., the KC135's. The last KC-135 was delivered to the Air Force in 1965. Note:also built by Boeing ) but we do have some hard choices ahead.
These planes may be made by an American owned company putting Americans to work, BUT if we have to borrow more money (from China ?!?) to do it, is it really worth it?

Marvin S
02-25-2011, 11:53 AM
Along with a contract for the Navy's new unmanned bomber from Northrop Grumman, http://www.navytimes.com/news/2011/02/navy-x-47b-debut-flight-a-success-northrop-grumman-says-020511w/ one has to wonder, in light of our current budget situation, how many of these planes will actually get into the air.
At 558+ M per plane for the tanker at the full contract pricing, I hope that the folks in Kansas & Washington don't go hog wild buying new cars and such. I was part of the crew that helped develop the B-2 and had first hand experience with the budget cuts on that program. :(
I'm not arguing with the need to keep our inventory up to date (The planes will replace tankers designed/built during the Eisenhower era., the KC135's. The last KC-135 was delivered to the Air Force in 1965. Note:also built by Boeing ) but we do have some hard choices ahead.
These planes may be made by an American owned company putting Americans to work, BUT if we have to borrow more money (from China ?!?) to do it, is it really worth it?

There were also a lot of tankers built based on the 707 airframe. & of somewhat more recent vintage, 1980ish.


We all know politics played "the" role in that decision.

Don't you find it interesting that a 200 mil off the shelf airframe will be turned into a 558 mil upgrade? From experience I know the government to be hard to work with, but that's quite a markup!!!!!!

Jason Glavich
02-25-2011, 12:35 PM
There were also a lot of tankers built based on the 707 airframe. & of somewhat more recent vintage, 1980ish.



Don't you find it interesting that a 200 mil off the shelf airframe will be turned into a 558 mil upgrade? From experience I know the government to be hard to work with, but that's quite a markup!!!!!!

That is a small markup campared to daily ones I used to see while doing that kind of work. .10 part sold to one of big 3 for .25, sold to government for 35.75.

Eric Johnson
02-25-2011, 04:10 PM
As a point of order....the 135 is not built on the 707 airframe. The 135 and the 707 were each variants based on what is called the "Dash80" airframe. The Dash80 was a jet transport "proof of concept." The 135 is narrower and shorter....and has outlasted the 707.

It will be very interesting to watch the defense of the Boeing contract. The EADS aircraft is flying today and is larger and hauls more gas (the whole point of the exercise) that the Boeing offering. Both the EADS and the Boeing will be built equally in the US. Boeing has tried to hush this but the wings for their airframe will be built in China if I'm not mistaken.

Eric

BonMallari
02-25-2011, 05:32 PM
Alabama's senior Senator is the staunch conservative Jeff Sessions, Washington's Senator is Patty Murray, who helped write the Obamacare health bill...draw your own conclusions

luvmylabs23139
02-25-2011, 05:35 PM
OK, I'm confused. On the local news they just said that the other company was Airbus which is French. The were discussing a local company that will be adding jobs due to the contract.

BonMallari
02-25-2011, 05:50 PM
OK, I'm confused. On the local news they just said that the other company was Airbus which is French. The were discussing a local company that will be adding jobs due to the contract.


Airbus is made by EADS which has a plant in Alabama

Buzz
02-25-2011, 06:04 PM
Airbus is made by EADS which has a plant in Alabama

Yup. They decided in 2005 to put a plant there in an attempt to win the contract.



EADS Resolves Rifts, Opens Alabama Facility to Help Focus on USA
28-Jun-2005 04:23 UTC
Related Stories: Americas - USA, Boeing, EADS, Issues - Political, Lobbying, News, Partnerships & Consortia, Pre-RFP, Specialty Aircraft

Airbus parent company EADS recently announced its choice of a site in Alabama to build a new refuelling plane for the US military, as part of its bid to win the USAF’s $23.5 billion contract to supply the next generation of air-air refuelling aircraft. EADS said the Brookley Industrial Complex in Mobile, AL had beaten off competition from Florida, Mississippi and South Carolina as part of a very competitive process to host the “KC-330 Advanced Tanker” production facility, which would hire up to 1,100 personnel if EADS should win against Boeing’s KC-767. The A330 was selected as Britain’s next-generation tanker aircraft, for instance, in an innovative leasing arrangement that echoes some aspects of the cancelled Boeing KC-767 deal.

huntinman
02-25-2011, 06:35 PM
Alabama's senior Senator is the staunch conservative Jeff Sessions, Washington's Senator is Patty Murray, who helped write the Obamacare health bill...draw your own conclusions

Bingo! .

Buzz
02-25-2011, 06:35 PM
Boeing has tried to hush this but the wings for their airframe will be built in China if I'm not mistaken.

Eric

Back in the '90s I designed some high speed water cooled motors go on spar mills that Cincinnati Milacron was shipping to China. At the time, I figured it would only be a matter of time...

Eric Johnson
02-25-2011, 07:23 PM
Alabama's senior Senator is the staunch conservative Jeff Sessions, Washington's Senator is Patty Murray, who helped write the Obamacare health bill...draw your own conclusions

Sessions is the junior Senator from AL. Richard Shelby is the senior Senator. Both are Republicans. Both the Washington plus both Illinois Senators are Democrats.

The scuttlebutt was clearly that EADS would win so there will probably be a protest. Northrup pulled out so EADS cut the cost by Northrup's share of the profits...from a winning proposal last time. So I ask....if last time EADS/Northrup won the bid, how did EADS not win this time with cost per plane cut even further.

I'm former Air Force with a couple of assignments in large systems procurement. Seems like these guys were playing with a funny deck of cards.

Eric

BrianW
02-25-2011, 10:19 PM
As a point of order....

The EADS aircraft is flying today and is larger and hauls more gas (the whole point of the exercise) that the Boeing offering. Both the EADS and the Boeing will be built equally in the US. Boeing has tried to hush this but the wings for their airframe will be built in China if I'm not mistaken.

Eric

Excuse me Eric, but Boeing's NGT is based on the 767, of which Boeing has built 1000+ airframes. Payload & range comparison ?!?

The key, besides the in country politics, could be "the China factor".
Curious that up until PBO's last G20 summit trip to S. Korea and recent US visit of the ChiCom President, that the EADS offering was the winner in 2 previous bid competitions.
Not to "dis" my WA neighbors and past business partners in Seattle, oops I mean Chicago ( now THAT couldn''t have ANYthing to do with the decision ?!? :rolleyes:) but we need the best airplane for the job at the best price. I'd be interested to see the money trail.

Eric Johnson
02-25-2011, 11:24 PM
I don't think the payload and range numbers are available except in general terms. The numbers for a civilian version won't be valid.

The EADS Airbus is reported to have a higher payload and in the tanker world, that generally means a greater range. Boeing had claimed that with the smaller airframe, they'd be able to get into more forward locations. That's a red herring since tankers don't operate out of forward locations. Boeing also is reported to have said that the Airbus greater payload exceeded the specs...duh?

The previous Boeing proposal was for an airframe that had a problem. I don't know whether this is true with this go round or not. I assumed it was.

<lights come on...> I know what it was. The Boeing airframe has been in production since the early 80's. This makes the "new" tanker nearly half the age of the KC-135. Hardly new.

Eric

BrianW
02-26-2011, 12:11 AM
Not to pick nits, but if the tanker has to cut in on its payload to extend its own range, then that reduces the amount available to refuel the fighters, bombers on missions etc which is its primary function.

And "if" the Boeing NGT could land at a shorter runaway, say somewhere in A-stan/Iraq, that could be an advantage in not having to return to Fairchild AFB or similar. Not exactly a red herring in my view.

But be that as it may, I wonder how the RFP's were changed this time around after past challenges in order that Boeing came out on top this time?

And regardless of who "won" the contract, how many actually get funded will be the bottom line. I wouldn't want to bet on that right now.

IowaBayDog
02-26-2011, 12:59 AM
EADS snapping off a fuel boom destroying 2 aircraft weeks before the decision may have had something to do with it too. The Boeing aircraft actually meeting the original.requirements probably didn't hurt either. Then there is the way more advanced technology on the Boeing aircraft. If politcs played a role in keeping the money in the US well then the system worked for once.

Buzz
02-26-2011, 09:57 AM
Several friends of mine work at Boeing. One of them turned me on to this website. Lots of great information there.

http://leehamnews.wordpress.com/

Eric Johnson
02-26-2011, 05:48 PM
Not to pick nits, but if the tanker has to cut in on its payload to extend its own range, then that reduces the amount available to refuel the fighters, bombers on missions etc which is its primary function.

And "if" the Boeing NGT could land at a shorter runaway, say somewhere in A-stan/Iraq, that could be an advantage in not having to return to Fairchild AFB or similar. Not exactly a red herring in my view.

But be that as it may, I wonder how the RFP's were changed this time around after past challenges in order that Boeing came out on top this time?

And regardless of who "won" the contract, how many actually get funded will be the bottom line. I wouldn't want to bet on that right now.

That's what I was trying to say....payload and range are related such that with tankers you can't speak of absolutes....with the exception of the KC-135Q which carried a fuel that it itself couldn't use. If they need to go farther, they just tap into the other tanks and then they can't re-fuel as much.

Tankers don't work from forward areas. The amount of fuel they need to load both for themselves and for the "customers" requires a huge infra-structure that won't be found at a forward base. Both submittals require 200,000+ pounds for a fully loaded aircraft. They need pipelines or a rail terminal to get the quantity of fuel they use onto a base. That said, they don't fly from a CONUS base for an overseas mission. We've operated tankers from Saudi for 30 years or more.

Since both aircraft submitted this time are essentially the same as last time, it will be interesting to see what requirements were changed that Boeing met or met better that EADS did not. The one that I know of was the occupant of the White House was from Illinois this time.

For some reason this is a fixed price contract but it's not for the full purchase. If this was to be figured with the sharpest pencils possible, you'd think they'd include the full purchase. In fact there is a "B" and a "C" procurement ahead. This purchase is for something like 179 aircraft. The "B" and "C" purchases will close out the fleet at about 400. if this were done to base the follow-on purchases on actual requirements (smaller force structure), why was it not simply an option? Instead, they are going to have to do these 2 packages as new RFP's. This raises the spectre of two different aircraft models again...even if Boeing gets the contract for the "B" and "C" packages. It's a strange way to do business as if they'd lumped them into a single procurement, they'd have gotten a lower unit cost.

Eric

IowaBayDog
02-27-2011, 09:26 AM
Since both aircraft submitted this time are essentially the same as last time, it will be interesting to see what requirements were changed that Boeing met or met better that EADS did not. The one that I know of was the occupant of the White House was from Illinois this time.

For some reason this is a fixed price contract but it's not for the full purchase. If this was to be figured with the sharpest pencils possible, you'd think they'd include the full purchase. In fact there is a "B" and a "C" procurement ahead. This purchase is for something like 179 aircraft. The "B" and "C" purchases will close out the fleet at about 400. if this were done to base the follow-on purchases on actual requirements (smaller force structure), why was it not simply an option? Instead, they are going to have to do these 2 packages as new RFP's. This raises the spectre of two different aircraft models again...even if Boeing gets the contract for the "B" and "C" packages. It's a strange way to do business as if they'd lumped them into a single procurement, they'd have gotten a lower unit cost.

Eric


The size and landing requirements EADS didn't meet last time that were "tailored" after the fact so they would be able to bid at all. (The basis for Boeing's appeal on that award).

They bid in phases so the gov't isn't on the hook for huge cancellation charges if they decide they don't want the aircraft for phases B and C.

Eric Johnson
02-27-2011, 11:15 AM
The size and landing requirements EADS didn't meet last time that were "tailored" after the fact so they would be able to bid at all. (The basis for Boeing's appeal on that award).

They bid in phases so the gov't isn't on the hook for huge cancellation charges if they decide they don't want the aircraft for phases B and C.

But using this approach, the government is open to HUGE price increases for the B and C packages. They could have included the B and C packages as options on the base contract and agreed to a price now. With the history of this procurement, how will government avoid the same anguish two more times in the future and not get a completely different aircraft at a huge cost increase? Maybe the number in the "A" package was based on giving Boeing the contract be setting the number below the "break-even point" for EADS. I guess we'll have to wait for the 10 day bid examination period to play out.

Eric

Granddaddy
02-27-2011, 07:20 PM
No large fixed wing tankers operate in "forward" areas. Never have & never will. Not unlike the gov requiremetns for large transports - the C-5A/B & the C-17. Winners of those bids were partially determined by their paper ability to land at "umimproved forward landing areas", yet never in reality has even one such landing taken place during any US military action. The US gov will not risk the loss of such a high valued asset in limited actions such as the middle east actions that have been seen/are being seen. Instead C-130 variants and some rotory wing tankers are used.

Point being, in such procurements, political strength determines the winner. That's why it takes 2, sometimes 3 rounds of bids to get the "right" winner. In the case of the tanker procurement, the N-G/EADS proposal was the clear dollars & perforement winner in previous rounds, so the evaluation is changed to include other considerations or at least re-weight the various considerations to get the "right" winner. This has been my personal experience in over 25 yrs of government related business working at Boeing, Lockheed & my own company. When it comes to new programs, once basic parameters of the technical spec are met, politics wins every time. Just as an aside, I'm guessing their is more than coincidence that N-G dropped out after they won the bomber competition. Not unlike Lockheed winning the JSF competition before their F-22 program was shutdown. It's the ying and the yang of gov procurement - politics at the highest corporate level in joint venture with the gov.

And one more personal aside, the USAF (that conducted the tanker procurement) is a lightweight compared to the US Army & the US Navy when it comes to the level of political influence of their new program procurements.

Eric Johnson
03-02-2011, 11:44 AM
Here's an interesting article on the aftermath...

Eric
**********

http://blog.al.com/live/2011/03/eads_moving_quickly_on_air_for.html

http://tinyurl.com/5t5wwxd

EADS is moving quickly to decide whether to challenge the U.S. Air Force’s decision to award its refueling tanker contract to rival Boeing Co.

Top EADS officials met Monday at the Pentagon for a 90-minute debriefing on the Air Force’s decision, then returned Tuesday for a second round of discussions about the award.

The company technically has a 10-day window to file a protest with the Government Accountability Office, but look for a decision before the end of the week.

It’s a tough call for EADS chairman Ralph Crosby and chief executive Sean O’Keefe. The two leaders praised the Air Force for its professionalism during the competition and vowed not to protest unless they saw “egregious” errors as part of the selection process.

-more-