Lockheed praises Tanker Decision

In what can only fall into the “wow” category, Lockheed Martin–the USA’s #1 defense contractor–praised the US Air Force for looking beyond the US shores in awarding the KC-X tanker contract to a consortium consisting of Northrop Grumman and France’s EADS, the parent of Airbus.

In a speech, yes, before a European audience, Lockheed’s chairman had this to say:

“The decision by the USAF to purchase Airbus tankers reinforces the openness of U.S. markets and is the most recent example of the growing willingness of the United States to look to global sources of supply for vital equipment.   While our company is not involved in the Tanker program, Lockheed Martin is involved in a number of significant transatlantic programs.”

The full text of the speech may be found here.  A press release may be found here.

The highly unusual nature of one US defense contractor praising a decision like this can’t be considered anything but a blow to Boeing’s long-running campaign about the USAF awarding this contract to a “French” company (notwithstanding that the contract is actually to Northrop Grumman).

3 Comments on “Lockheed praises Tanker Decision

  1. What else do we expect a company (like Lockheed) to say when its trying to sell its products (e.g. F-16, F-35 and C-130J) against Euro-based competition (e.g. Rafale, Eurofighter, Gripen, A400M) to prospective European countries?

  2. By that rationale, Vojoboy, Boeing should be four-square behind the award, too, because of all its sales part and present and future ambitions to sell to the EU.

  3. Unfortunately Boeing IDS is not the same Military Contractor in the EU that Lockheed currently is (or even McDonnell Douglas was for that matter). In terms of fixed wing and rotary sales, I can only see a few trickles of EU/NATO C-17 Sales (which still meets a lot of Franco-German resistance) in their pipeline. Most EU nations have picked EU-based military products the past few years (except for the JSF which is an exception due to work share agreements). Boeing even had to pull-out of the Swiss AF RFP due to the lack of a suitable offering.
    Boeing has more to lose (compared to LM) in opening the US Military Market and LM has more to lose by not having the ability to compete in Europe.

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