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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Several friends of mine work at Boeing. One of them turned me on to this website. Lots of great information there.
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.
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.