After a decade of embarrassing missteps and disputes, the Pentagon handed a job-rich $35-billion contract to Chicago-based Boeing Co. to build a fleet of 179 aerial refueling tankers that carries the promise of work for an estimated 50,000 aerospace employees.
In an announcement that took industry experts by surprise, word came down late Thursday that Boeing had bested archrival Airbus and its parent company European Aeronautic Defense & Space Co., or EADS.
The fight between Boeing and EADS was bitter and hard fought. The lucrative tanker contract is believed to be the last new major Pentagon purchase for years to come.
"Boeing was the clear winner," said William J. Lynn, deputy secretary of Defense, in making the announcement. "We went through a process that evaluated war-fighting requirements, evaluated price, evaluated life-cycle costs. And the process yielded the result it did with Boeing winning."
The question on everybodys mind is will EADS appeal the decision.
Source: Los Angeles Times
Gravity always wins!
Someone had better call the USAF and tell them that someone from this forum, with such a non-partisan name as Airbus Fan, has figured their evil scheme out. He's smarter than the average forum user and has decided that the award to Boeing was purely political. Never mind that the KC-767 met or exceeded every criteria set forth by the USAF. Never mind that the fuel burn and infrastructure requirements are much less than the A330. Never mind the facts, the A330 is just better just because. It's a better aircraft....because. It's better...because...um....because Airbus Fan, in his 115.4% purely unbiased opinion, says so.
If size was a requirement, which it was NOT, Boeing was prepared to offer a tanker based on the 777; a larger, longer ranged, superior aircraft than the A330. EADS lost the contract, fair and square. The Pentagon even bent over backwards to allow EADS to submit a bid without NG. So, your assessment that the contest was purely political, is 115.5% BS.
I believe the Pentagon said the price difference was greater than 1%.
I phoned the USAF and Pentagon and they assure me that the contest was totally non-biased and the bid process was followed to the "T" therefore any references to political interference or conspiracy theories in this matter are totally invalid.
The Pentagon said both bidders met all 372 mandatory requirements for the contract. Because the difference in price between the bids exceeded 1 percent, the cost was the deciding factor.
As for the 1 % difference in price, the rules are clear as mud: "Additional “non-mandatory” requirements were only to be considered if the evaluated prices of the two proposals were within 1% of each other. “Both offerors met the mandatory requirements, and there was a greater than 1% difference in total price, so non-mandatory capabilities were evaluated, but not used in the source-selection,” Air Force Secretary Michael Donley says".
The only thing that will ever decide if the best plane won is after 100 tankers has been flying for 2-3 years and the real cost factor emerges. When that happens we will go through another discussion as this one and somehow we will end up in a stalemate. Transparency is a word used a lot but rarely adhered to.
The Air Force wanted a KC-135 replacement and the spec was written round it.
The ideal would have been 757 with 767 wings but the nearest practical alternative was the 767
A330 was too big and too heavy and limited by its footprint to the airports it could use, and there were serious questions about the boom
Why fly all that unrequired cargo volume around when you are not going to use it?
Of no question, the U.S. economy is found needy.
It pretty much sums up this entire competition process that the USAF picked the bigger aircraft last time and trumpeted the importance of "more", but eventually opted for what by the same token must be "less".
If you're buying 179 tankers in one hit then in all likelihood smaller can be better, but what EADS must be hoping is that the modified A330, with its greater fuel load, inherent freight capability and passenger transport potential in one package will appeal to more export buyers. Once the KC-46A becomes available via FMS that could be a pretty tough ask though.
Did the USAF get the best aircraft for the job - NO. The KC46A does not exist other than on the drawing board. Did the USAF get the aircraft that the US Goverment wanted them to have - YES. The KC46 will be a good tanker, will it be the best tanker - NO
All this rubbish about the KC45 being too big and footprint rubbish is just brushing facts under the carpet. The "warfighter" (rubbish buzzword) will always take extra at any price.
Which would you prefer ? an aircraft that can fly further, carry more fuel to Tank with, transfer fuel at a faster rate carry more passengers or freight (granted not likely to do this as C17 are better) or have one that takes up less space at the airfield ???
The warfighter wants the plane that will be there when it's needed and will do what he needs it to do. The USAF purchased over 700 KC-135s starting in the 1950's and about 400 are still in service. Both the KC45 & KC46 are significantly larger and more capable than the plane they're replacing. You left out several important factors in your rant. Unlike most airforces including those in Europe the USAF in going to purchase a large number(probably over 300) so price is a big deal. The only thing we know at this point is Boeing price was MORE than 1% lower, we don't know how much lower. The KC46 can also use runways that are shorter so it's more flexible when deploying. It uses 24% less fuel on each mission because it is a smaller aircraft. For an airforce that is going to have a small number of tankers your points are well taken but the needs of the USAF are different.
It is true that the exact airplane that Boeing is going to build is new but it is based on proven components and it's not anywhere near the risk of building an all new aircraft. There was also risk in EADS proposal. They don't build large aircraft in the US, so they were going to have to build a new factory and have to train workers who've never built aircraft before.
What is interesting is that the Americans always want the biggest, best, fastest etc but in this case they decided smaller and slower and less capable was better!
If you were to show the average American a map of the world,. with all the country names removed and asked them to point out where they think America is they would point to the big country at the top right!(Russia!)
The USAF can find Russia no problem Victor they launched a system called Navstar decades ago, which you use today ,but you may know it as SAT NAV so they dont need maps.
If the populations of europe had to wait for the European effort ( Galileo) the roads of the world would be congested by lost drivers to this day and divorces would be more prevalent
I note that Europeans never mention US Army (NG) Eurocopters, Navy T-45s, Marine AV-8's (okay its an American aircraft , but they got the idea from Europe). Coastguard Casa's and Dauphins..................do I need to go on .
And no the US wont buy the A400M ,because it is so fatally comprimised by the conflicting operational requirements of the partner nations, not because its European . You just have to look at it, it makes the C-130 look beautiful
The Flight Global poll indicates that many believe that the tanker decision was politically motivated. I beg to offer another opinion. The US taxpayer is already overburdened (the US accounts for 50% of her entire world's defense expenditures and has (rightly or wrongly) intervened in many conflicts which have stabilized world peace. 50% represents a lot of money, which comes directly out of the US taxpayer's pockets!
The EADs A-330 based tanker entry is much larger than the Boeing 767 based entry and would require new hangers and other facilities (at additional cost). It also burns one ton per hour of additional fuel, which for the 500 or so new tankers that are eventually required over the next 40 years will consume a lot more money (especially in light of rising fuel costs)!
It has been noted that in over half the refueling missions, the existing KC-135's return with fuel left over after the mission. Thus, the extra fuel capacity of the EADs aircraft will not be used in most cases. The cargo mission for palletized cargo (in which the EADS aircraft can carry more pallets) is, by law, limited to commercial (chartered) flights. Unless the US congress changes this law, the cargo capability of tankers is limited.
The cost of the defense budget and any new aircraft is ultimately borne by the US taxpayer. If an aircraft is produced overseas (as in Toulouse, France) then no tax revenues will be collected to support the US Defense budget (I doubt French workers will pay into the US tax system to help support the US' worldwide commitments). The Air Force evaluation used a Life-Cycle-Cost Analysis for this procurement, in which the entire cost structure for the life of the aircraft is considered, and Boeing had the lowest total cost.
For these, as well as a number of other reasons, the less expensive alternative for the stated mission is the Boeing 767 based entry. The requirements required for the tanker mission were formally defined in the 1990's (more capability than the KC-135, able to use existing infrastructure, etc.) and were only changed to accommodate the EADs A-330 based aircraft at the insistence of politicians. The Boeing tanker is the least expensive (to own and operate) tanker that meets the defined need and represents the best value for the US taxpayer.
I think Colin Firth did raehr well at teh Oscars.
Boeing has not received any direct subsidy to develop any commercial aircraft; developmental funds are paid solely for military aircraft. When NASA or another Federal agency needs research to be performed, it turns to entities that have experience is this type of research. If the area of interest is aviation, they turn to an aviation oriented entity, not an automotive entity. In performing the research, the company obviously learns from it, but the research results are available to all. The winglets used on Airbus aircraft were developed through NASA efforts and the results shared with the entire international community.
Airbus, on the other hand, received large amounts of direct, product specific launch aid that has underwritten their entire developmental efforts.
Marine AV-8's (okay its an American aircraft , but they got the idea from Europe).
oh you arrogant American - lets take credit for someone else ideas !!!!! - the AV8B - AKA Hawker Siddely Harrier GR1 (now modified - but stick with me) was develped from the P1127 in the UK. Now i no you may think that England is on the East Coast of America somewhere, but do yourself a favour and learn some History
Next youl be claiming it was an American scientist who developed Space Rockets and got you to the Moon !!!!!
The 767 based entry is the full equal of the A-330 based entry in terms of basic design, materials, electronics, and so forth. It does have a lower capacity in terms of fuel carry and range, and it lacks a digital flight control system (but is digital flight controls a real advantage?). The A-330 based aircraft cannot use a large number of air fields (currently used by the KC-135) that the smaller 767 can and it costs an arm and a lot of money to operate over 40+ years. It might be OK to say that a lower capability aircraft was selected, but then you might not be paying the bill (so your answer is unqualified).
The USAF evaluation also considered the EADS A-330 entry to be less maneuverable for combat (evasion) maneuvers. In many cases the existing KC-135's return to base with left-over fuel, never having offloaded it, negating any perceived advantage of additional fuel capacity. Why buy a tanker that will return with even more fuel and break the bank to boot!