Update, Jan. 28, 6:30am PST: Predictably, Sen. Cantwell wasn’t satisfied. She said the Senate Hearing didn’t get at the “core issue,” and called for an investigation by the USAF Inspector General. EADS said today that’s fine; here is Chairman Ralph Crosby’s statement:
“We would welcome an investigation by the DoD Inspector General—if such an investigation does not delay the decision on acquisition of new tankers.
“Scandal and protest have kept this badly needed system out of the hands of our service men and women long enough. We are interested in illuminating unambiguous facts, not in a tactic for delaying the decision process.”
Update, 4:30pm: Here is the archived Hearing web cast; thanks to Dominic Gates of The Seattle Times for the link.
Update, 3:45pm: Boeing delivered the first KC-767 to Italy. See the article here.
Also: While the Hearing was pretty much a sham in our view–partisans on both sides were more interested in scoring political points than in fact-finding–one thing did come out of it and that is the allegation by Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Boeing/WA) that EADS had the data more than a month appears to be wholly unsupported. EADS received the data Nov. 1; it opened the disks that night, discovered the error and secured the disks the same night. At USAF direction, they (as did Boeing) returned the disks Nov.
8 2, during which time the relevant disk was secured.
Update, 9:15 am: Our take on the hearing:
- A lot of political posturing and little substance.
- No minds changed; Boeing partisans support Boeing and EADS partisans support EADS.
- Senators for Boeing tried to turn this into a hearing about WTO and illegal Airbus subsidies, to no avail–but achieved political points they wanted to make; but does anybody care?
- The 15 second/3 minute/15 minute issue raised by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-Boeing/SC) wasn’t diffused by committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-MI) and could lay the ground for a Boeing protest if it loses; see Trimble’s running log and closing commentary at the end of this post.
- We watched some but not all of the hearing and frankly came away thinking there’s more smoke than fire based on what we saw–which wasn’t all of the hearing and obviously doesn’t include any of the documentation the USAF provided. But nothing has been settled and this will continue to be an issue throughout the remainder of this competition.
- More than ever, we believe the only solution is to split the contract. We firmly believe there are sound strategic and tactical reasons to do so but politically it is the only choice that has any chance of moving forward with this contract.
- Nobody seems to give a damn about the needs of the warfighter anymore; it’s solely, entirely, 100% about Boeing vs Airbus and jobs rather than the Air Mobility Command and the needs of the warfighter.
(Boeing statement follows EADS; a link to download the EADS timeline follows Boeing; and a link to FlightGlobal’s running blog follows the EADS timeline.)
EADS released the following statement to the Senate committee, chaired by Carl Levin (D-MI), hearing information about the USAF inadvertent release of proprietary information on the KC-X procurement.
The hearing was called at the request of Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Boeing/WA).
Chief Executive Officer
EADS North America
Statement for the Record
To the Senate Armed Services Committee
January 27, 2011
Chairman Levin, Senator McCain, and Members of the Committee, I am pleased to provide a statement to the Committee concerning the U.S. Air Forces’ inadvertent release of Integrated Fleet Aerial Refueling Assessment (IFARA) data in the KC-X tanker procurement. The facts surrounding this incident, and the responsible actions taken by EADS North America, are straight forward and deserve to be clearly understood with full transparency. We are pleased to contribute in any way to that full understanding.