European defence manufacturers have more opportunity to do business and compete for government contracts in the USA than US companies have in Europe, says Jerry Daniels, head of Boeing's Military Aircraft and Missile Systems division. "European manufacturers have done a great job on acquisitions [in the USA] and have very good prospects," he adds, while many recent US transatlantic approaches have "gone nowhere".

Daniels was answering remarks by Airbus president Noel Forgeard, describing a $20 billion US government programme to lease up to 100 767-200ER in-flight refuelling tankers as a "Boeing Marshall Plan" to cushion a key defence contractor against plummeting civil aircraft sales (Flight International, 18-24 December, 2001).

He says Boeing had been negotiating the tanker deal with the US Department of Defense for three years, "before 11 September". Daniels says he was discussing the deal in the office of the assistant secretary of the US air force when the aircraft hit the World Trade Center.

Daniels has called for reform to reduce manufacturers' costs. He says the US government must commit to multi-year contracts, be more open to manufacturers from different countries working together, and "streamline bureaucratic" export controls to enable a quicker response to opportunities.

Source: Flight International