Graham Warwick in Washington DC
With a decision imminent, Boeing has moved to ensure that delays to its 737 airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) programmes for Australia and Turkey will not affect its ability to meet South Korea's requirements if selected. A decision on Seoul's E-X competition had been expected just before last month's Farnborough air show, but was delayed.
Bids had already been submitted when Boeing announced that the need for additional development would delay deliveries of the 737 AEW&C. "We are doing a lot of work to ensure the problems will not flow into Korea, and have done the due diligence to make sure we can meet the price and schedule on the table," says Tony Parasida, vice-president, anti-submarine warfare and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.
Boeing has taken a $496 million charge against second-quarter earnings to cover the AEW&C delays - at the top end of its projections (Flight International, 4-10 July). Under the new schedule agreed with launch customer Australia, two Wedgetail aircraft - both completed in-country - will be delivered in August 2008 to allow training to begin. All six aircraft will be delivered by the end of 2008.
Parasida says the problems are with software integration exacerbated by "unbridled optimism" on the part of programme managers. "It took longer to develop the radar and ESM [electronic support measures], and when the hardware is late, software integration gets late," he says.