We wonder what took Boeing so long to make this obvious point: France is protectionist in its defense purchases and should quit complaining about the KC-X competition in the US. See this Reuters story.
We agree, and have thought this to be one of the most salient political points that Boeing could make (though it has nothing to do with the technical merits of the competition). We’ve never been fans of the WTO argument, since we are firmly convinced Boeing will be found in violation of the rules just as Airbus has. We’ve never bought into the jobs argument, since Northrop Grumman claims its KC-30 will create 48,000 jobs and Boeing claims 44,000 (and we don’t believe either figure). We thought Boeing had a valid, if over-stated, point on the risk-factor of the Mobile (AL) plant proposed by Airbus where the KC-30 would be assembled–but Boeing pretty well shot down its own argument by selected Charleston (SC) for 787 Line 2.
But the fairness argument of access to France’s defense procurement: now this is the best political argument that Boeing can use. France has already made it clear it will select the KC-30 and not consider the Boeing KC-767. This is where Boeing and its supporters can effectively, and fairly, argue for a sole-source selection.