Tanker battle heats up with EADS smack-talk

EADS North America, newly-unmuzzled as their own prime contractor for KC-X, has gone on attack. Bullet-style talking points circulated to allies in Congress — and obtained by this blog — reveal a level of aggression never quite shown by EADS’ former overlords at Northrop Grumman.

The one page set of talking points, for example, takes aim at the reliability of their rival’s refueling equipment: “Boeing’s KC-767 boom doesn’t meet the Air Force’s requirement, and its hose pods don’t work. So far only their art department has fixes.” [Ouch.]

And this: “An aircraft that has never been built is not ‘combat ready’.” [Zing.]

Talking points are intended to guide friendly lawmakers as they make public comments on issues.

Read the full list of talking points on the jump.

KC-45Key Messages

29April 2010


·       Our aircraft is real, provenand ready today. It is competing against an unproven design that has never beenbuilt or flown.

-       Boeing wants to make thediscussion about anything other than tankers, because they don’t have one.

-       The Air Force shouldn’t have totake an expensive gamble on an aircraft that only exists on paper.

-       If staying on cost and onschedule matter, buy an aircraft that’s flying now, proven and ready. Buy theKC-45.

-       Unlike Boeing, the aircraft wehave flying today meets the Air Force’s requirements NOW, without years ofredesign and development.

-       An aircraft that has never beenbuilt is not “combat ready.”

-       Boeing’s KC-767 boom doesn’tmeet the Air Force’s requirement, and its hose pods don’t work. So far onlytheir art department has fixes.

-       An award to Boeing is a gamblewith taxpayer money and the warfighter’s future.


·       The KC-45 will be made in America by tens of thousands of Americanworkers, and build the U.S.economy for today and tomorrow.

-       Our aircraft will create andsupport American aerospace jobs across the country at a time when Boeing issending jobs overseas.

-       Our aircraft is an investmentin the future of U.S.industry, bringing manufacturing to our shores when Boeing is sending it away.

-       We’re fighting to build up the U.S. economy.Boeing is fighting to preserve a monopoly.

-       EADS supports 200,000 Americanjobs and contributes $11 billion to the US economy each year. It is thelargest purchaser or American aerospace exports.

-       We believe in the Americanworker. Our tanker will be built in Alabama,by the same workforce that our competitor trusts to build rockets.

-       We will not only build theKC-45 here in America,we will build commercial A330 freighters, creating or supporting tens ofthousands more American jobs.


·       We are a proven and trustedprime contractor, with a model program that is on time and on budget.

-       We have proven our reliabilityas prime contractor for the Army’s UH-72A Light Utility Helicopter, identifiedby the Defense Department as one of its Top Five performing programs.

-       We have delivered every Lakota- more than a hundred so far – on time and on budget. We deliver more thanpromises.

-       We are a trusted corporatecitizen, providing aircraft and defense technologies to every branch of ourarmed services.

-       As the largest aerospacecompany in the world, EADS has unequalled experience and expertise.




·       We have built the best planeat the best value. The warfighter and taxpayer deserve the best.

-       This is the best plane, withmore of everything that matters to the warfighter: more fuel, more range, moreefficiency, more cargo, more passengers.

·         “More” means greater efficiencyand lower operating cost across missions

·         “More” means flexibility inmission planning AND in the air

·         “More” can be the differencebetween a pilot flying home or having to eject.

-       Our aircraft will transform howthe tanker fleet operates and save money.

-       Our warfighters should neverhave to settle for second best. Never in our history have we willfully giventhem the lesser capability. Now is no time to start.

-       Boeing is afraid to competeairplane against airplane. That’s why they are trying so hard to deprive theAir Force of competitive choice.

-       Our aircraft has won the lastfive head-to-head competitions with Boeing tankers, and is in production forfour nations.

-       We have the industrial know-howto build tankers anywhere in the world.


Subscribe to our e-mail newsletter to receive updates.

, , ,

24 Responses to Tanker battle heats up with EADS smack-talk

  1. jetcal1 29 April, 2010 at 9:31 pm #

    Let the games begin.

  2. POG 29 April, 2010 at 11:25 pm #

    Boeing hopes that Sean O’Keefe does to EADS as he did to NASA when he ran that agency.

  3. hank[ster] 30 April, 2010 at 12:15 am #

    EADS needs to deliver the proposal to the Pentagon in a KC-45. Zoom zoom zing!

  4. Robert 30 April, 2010 at 4:58 am #

    Potent points.

    Still think that MRTT suits USAF’s need better than KC767 does.

    When it comes it aerial tankers, big [and modern] is simply beautiful.

  5. Aero Ninja 30 April, 2010 at 6:47 am #

    Could their new board member (General Lichte) have anything to do with this document?

  6. Anonymous 30 April, 2010 at 7:20 am #

    Airbus wants the discussion to be diverted from the fact that the new tanker, if built by them, is based on an airframe and program that will be heavily skewed by subsidies, no matter how you look at it, which is a big blow to Boeing, and furthermore, Boeing already does have a tanker that they will base their design off of, the KC-767. Lastly, the RFP is pretty clear – the air force wants a smaller refueling tanker, and no brownie points for “more is more.”

  7. aeroxavier 30 April, 2010 at 10:39 am #

    EADS fight against american protectionism and not boeing, because the plane of airbus was better and this is for that american make all of possible for give advantage to boeing

  8. Royce 30 April, 2010 at 1:43 pm #

    The RFP is there. Put the airplane in the competition and see how it does. Everything else is just the usual PR spin.

    Delivering a bunch of rebadged EC145s is a no better comparison for a potential Pentagon development program than Boeing’s performance under the C-40 program.

  9. jetcal1 30 April, 2010 at 2:06 pm #

    Introducing common sense into this conversation is not going to win any friends amongst our European posters.

  10. Observer 30 April, 2010 at 3:32 pm #

    “The RFP is there. Put the airplane in the competition and see how it does”

    Great idea. Airbus flies in the KC-30 MRTT. Boeing presents a video animation of the KC767 NewGen. No contest: real airplane vs cartoon.

  11. jetcal1 30 April, 2010 at 4:31 pm #

    For your reading enjoyment

  12. Atomic Walrus 30 April, 2010 at 5:14 pm #

    An interesting argument – Airbus claims that Boeing’s product is no more than a design study, and then turns around to claim that they’ll build many A330 freighters that are also no more than a design study and don’t have firm orders attached to them…

  13. jetcal1 30 April, 2010 at 6:55 pm #

    While your point is valid, you just don’t roll a new airplane up to the hangar and maintain it.
    There maybe significant infrastructure changes need to support a larger airplane that would make the paper Boeing cheaper to buy and operate in the long run.

    For example are there any A330 simulators in the U.S.?

    I bet there there B767 simulators that can either purchased used or made available by subcontracting time from an operator.

    At this point, who ever wins, someone will whine…Give it the Russians, Hello! Andrei Nikolayevich?

  14. Royce 30 April, 2010 at 6:59 pm #

    “Boeing presents a video animation of the KC767 NewGen. No contest: real airplane vs cartoon.”

    If that was the case, all EADS has to do is not ask for any development money to meet USAF specs. Just roll them off the line and paint them USAF gray. Is that the plan?

  15. Mark Brueschke 30 April, 2010 at 9:08 pm #

    Jetcal1, there is an A330 sim in OKC.


  16. Braveheart 1 May, 2010 at 4:08 am #

    @jetcal1 – 767 simulators? With 787 digital cockpit?
    You jest, surely.

    The Boeing project appears to be a bunch of parts from different 767 models glued together, with a fully-digital cockpit attached to an analog airplane. The development program could take for ever! Add the boom and drogue problems, and one should be very fearful of what it will take to deliver a working airplane.

  17. LeoC 2 May, 2010 at 2:08 pm #

    EADS touts the tanker as being built in Alabama. That statement needs an asterisk if EADS follows the Lakota production model. The first several KC-30s would come directly off the European production line. After the Mobile plant is constructed and workers trained, the next several KC-30s would be assembled from mostly European parts. My guess is substantial American production of the KC-30 would not come until the 20th aircraft (more or less).

  18. Jeff 2 May, 2010 at 8:06 pm #

    The KC-45A exists on paper as well it lacks a great many of the requirements for the KC-X RfP the 767 already meets. Leeham came out with a very short list of deficiencies for the KC-30. Most of these are of a more serious nature than simply joining a 767-300 wing to a 767-200 fuselage when the only real differences between the two wings is that the 767-300 wing has less milling done in order to strengthen the wings for the extra 17,000 lbs of MTOW a 767-300 has. A few KC-30 deficiencies are listed below:

    * A freighter floor?
    1 A cargo door?
    2 Capabilities necessary to carry hazardous cargo on the main deck?
    3 A moveable smoke/fume barrier in the cargo compartment?
    4 A centerline hose refueling system?
    5 The required hose jettison capability?
    6 Duplicate displays and a third seat at the aerial refueling operator’s station?
    7 The required quick start and take off capabilities?
    8 Certified non-ozone depleting substance fire suppression system?
    9 The required on-board inert gas generation system for fuel tank explosion protection?
    10 Large aircraft infrared countermeasure system with 3 turrets and ability to handle simultaneous engagements?
    11 An armored cockpit to improve crew safety and survivability?
    12 Ballistic protection of flight critical aircraft systems?
    13 Electromagnetic pulse protection of flight and aerial refueling critical systems?
    14 Integrated threat avoidance systems?
    15 Ability to meet stated requirements pertaining to a chemical or biological environment?
    16 Flight deck display interfaces with aircraft defensive systems?

    This doesn’t even include the shortcomings in classified systems for the KC-45A. EADS current plan to have their internet security systems provider EADS NA Security Solutions handle the classified systems for the EADS entry is completely laughable. EADS N.A. complete lack of experience in this area is reason enough to disqualify them.

    The idea of EADS flying in their bid in a KC-30 would be no more convincing than Boeing borrowing an operational KC-767J to deliver their bid and citing it as proof that we have tanker that meets the RfP requirements.

  19. arby 3 May, 2010 at 1:01 pm #

    Boeing has been fitting aerial refueling equipment to its aircraft for around 60 years. How many years does EADS have?

  20. jetcal1 3 May, 2010 at 1:59 pm #

    Fully-digital cockpits are installed analog airplanes all the time. The systems are integrated via data concentrators.

    Mark Brueschke, One simulator is not going to cut it for the numbers they will need. My point was the USAF can contract with airlines to provide the training and reduce transition costs. Infrastructure is a major cost driver.

  21. hank[ster] 3 May, 2010 at 5:49 pm #

    “The idea of EADS flying in their bid in a KC-30 would be no more convincing than Boeing borrowing an operational KC-767J to deliver their bid and citing it as proof that we have tanker that meets the RfP requirements.”

    Boeing is proposing a NEWGEN 767, not the old busted one they are selling to everyone else. The KC45(30?) would represent the actual airframe and likely boom they would be proposing. Just need the added USAF requested systems.

  22. Jeff 4 May, 2010 at 3:48 am #

    “Boeing is proposing a NEWGEN 767, not the old busted one they are selling to everyone else. The KC45(30?) would represent the actual airframe and likely boom they would be proposing. Just need the added USAF requested systems.”

    Gee, a 767-200 with winglets and a wing nearly identical 767-300 wing. The idea that joining up a 767-300 wing to the 767-200 is risky or new is so oversold and silly why do EADS supporters keep repeating it. It really is no big deal for overall program risk. The fact that Boeing’s boom has not been integrated with the KC-767 is a real risk factor unlike this nonesense that integrating a very slightly different wing is somehow risky, but then again Boeing might borrow a KC-10 and fly it in to say hey the KC-767 has been in service for years now, and our boom has been in service for nearly 3 decades, and better yet they might do it at Boeing Field in Seattle to say we actually have a production facility to build these aircraft in. What does EADS have a piece of paper for an aircraft plant located directly in an area at risk from hurricanes and other severe weather?

    The KC-30 has some significant risk factors just like the KC-767 does. If you look at recent history ala the A380 and 787 it was the production issues more than the design issues or certification of new hardware that contributed to the delays. So it is very easy to argue that the KC-30 risk is way way risker because of the new Mobile, AL production facility and the new production scheme. Well let’s correct that and just say the new production scheme makes the A330 based tanker way risker if you are willing to look at the facts and recent history instead of just regurgitating nonsensical EADS talking points.

  23. buye-cig 15 August, 2010 at 4:41 pm #

    I haven’t had a puff in over a year. The toughest aspect related to quitting may be the very first month or so. Happily this stuff didn’t last and things got better as time went on due to the e-cigarettes. Never throw in the towel. Please keep going with it and you should be able to realise success once and for all.

  24. Krissy Zendejas 15 August, 2010 at 5:00 pm #

    I have not had a smoke in over a year. The worst thing about quitting will be starting couple of weeks. Happily that part didn’t last long and things improved daily thanks to the electric cigarettes. Please do not quit. Simply be strong and you definitely will become successful once and for all.

Leave a Reply