EADS may bid for tanker after all

Update, Mar. 19, 230PM PDT: Just when you thought this couldn’t get any weirder, Russia announced it plans to submit a bid to the KC-X, according to The Wall Street Journal:

By PETER SANDERS

In another twist to the ongoing saga to replace the Air Force’s aging fleet of aerial refueling tankers, United Aircraft Corp. of Russia is planning to bid on the $40 billion contract, according to a person familiar with its plans.

United Aircraft, an aerospace consortium owned by the Russian government, will seek to offer a tanker version of its Ilyushin Il-96 wide-body jetliner, dubbed the Il-98, this person said. The planes would be largely built in Russia, and assembled in the U.S., this person says. United Aircraft will partner with a “small U.S. defense contractor,” which will be renamed United Aircraft Corp. America Inc., this person said, declining to name that contractor.

Update, Mar. 19, 600AM PDT:

DOD says it might extend the deadline for submitting a bid so EADS can do so if it wants. Here is one story.

Update, Mar. 17, 900AM PDT:

This AP story cites EADS ambitions in the US, but buried toward the bottom is a new statement from EADS CEO Louis Gallois and EADS North America Sean O’Keefe about the prospect of EADS submitted a bid for the KC-X. Here is the excerpt:

Earlier this month, EADS pulled out of bidding for the Pentagon refueling tanker contract, saying a smaller plane offered by rival Boeing Co. appeared to be the front-runner. EADS, which had partnered with Northrop Grumman for the 179-tanker order, has criticized the contract as anticompetitive.

“The U.S. Air Force will not have the most modern, most capable airplane,” Gallois said. “It’ll be the first time the British, the Australians have a better airplane than the Americans.”

Gallois said it’s unlikely that EADS will submit a new bid for the tanker contract.

Instead, EADS will move to make other deals in the U.S. Building its presence here through acquisitions may bolster its case when bidding for national defense contracts, but “that would not be the objective,” said Sean O’Keefe, CEO of EADS North America.

But: comments added in our Comment section after the above posting suggest that EADS is still considering a bid if the deadline to do so is extended, and DOD might.

Won’t this ever go away?

Update, Mar. 16, 830AM PDT:

Airbus received EASA certification for the A330MRTT. Here’s an excerpt from the Bloomberg story that moved just a short time ago:

Airbus Tanker Gets Civil Certification From European Regulator

By Andrea Rothman
March 17 (Bloomberg) — European Aeronautic, Defence and Space Co.’s Airbus unit won civil certification for a military tanker version of its A330, putting the plane a step closer to maturity before it enters service in Australia by year-end.


Certification from the commercial aviation regulator, European Air Safety Agency, means handling qualities of the plane and on-board systems correspond to civil certifications, which are more stringent than military requirements. Besides refueling other planes in mid-flight, the A330 tanker could carry as many as 300 troops.


EASA’s approval is the first civil certification ever extended to a tanker and transport aircraft developed in Europe.

Update, March 15, 300PM PDT:

Richard Aboulafia has a particularly entertaining commentary in his latest monthly newsletter.

He also has a more prosaic but thoughtful commentary here.

Update, March 15, 900AM PDT:

This news report out of Europe updates the situation, in typical military fashion: Hurry up and Wait.

Original Post:

Information is coming out late today (March 12) that EADS may try and bid for the KC-X tanker contract after all. The Pentagon may extend the deadline for bidding to accommodate EADS, George Talbot of The Mobile Press-Register tells us. He will be posting his own story at www.al.com shortly.

Here are the stories:

Air Force Times

Washington Post

We do not believe Lockheed Martin, L-3, Raytheon or General Dynamics will join EADS.

46 Comments on “EADS may bid for tanker after all

  1. That is SAD.. they want to simply hose up the process – bid the same plane as NOC had submitted, then complain when they lose because the U.S doesn’t want a 18 wheeler to go to the weekly grocery store, and refuses to give them sufficient credit for their oversized offering.

    Maybe they will go back to sending technology and parts to IRAN just to get even . . .

    • By the same token, then USAF frequently sets the bar from a capability standpoint. There isn’t any traction to be gained from ‘oversize’ Remember the offering has already been won by 2 countries with significant expeditionary requirements, operating from airbases with prime tarmac space – performing the same missions and refueling just as diverse range of aircraft. Both of these countries have significantly more budget constraints than does the USAF, one of which has no more linkage to EADS than it does Boeing.

      Moreover, the offering will be cutting the cost of their troop transport & charter in half.

      With a history of setting the bar at capability standpoint, it’s extremely unusual to be arguing on a ‘budget’ standpoint, when there are a few platforms flying about that suck up billions and provide questionable use. Moreover, when we look at it from an original procurement standpoint, which was to get the best available to SAC, it is extremely unlikely that the platform is the only tonnage & capability offload worth considering, and much more likely that the requirement is built around the capability that operations are used to. If we used the same argument the Army would still be driving around in Willi’s instead of Humvees & 5 Tonne trucks. I.E if you have a global footprint with global capabilities it is harder to see the void in mission capability, than if you are a small force that say wants to deploy to Iraq or Afghanistan, and needs and effective way of adding more of the capability to it’s options.

      Base rfp requirements are just that. You want to fight a war with a platform that is efficient at refuelling 2 planes on a refuelling currency training mission, then get that. From a military standpoint the goal of the Unites States armed services is to Wage war on her enemies and win – not provide currency.

      There is a reason why the USAF is completely useless when it comes to helping the USN project force over Afghanistan & why the RAF have the tankers of choice. That reason is the USAF is stuck in it’s on incestuous requirements to the detriment of the power projection capabilities of the other armed services of the nation. There is a reason why airlift to Manas is suffering from crippling charter costs. There is a reason as to why freight cannot take advantage of the in house facilities of host nations to offload it (i.e soley basing airlift aquisition based on ro-ro. That is the USAF itself. Specifically, designing an RFP based off an existing platform. It certainly is not the only answer either, or you would be calling the selection processes of other advanced countries corrupt & hindering multi mission capabilities.

      Just to re-inforce this point, the key requirement of the US Armed services is to be able to fight TWO (not one) major wars at the same time & win. Afghanistan & Iraq were hardly that – yet underline logistics constraints daily.

      EADS wants a chance to diversify production into U.S Currency & get a U.S Base. I don’t get your point. If the USAF says it is a fair competition, what is wrong with bidding the same aircraft that NOC had? Or are you just annoyed because you think EADS products are inherently evil and spent so much time backing the Boeing product as the only answer to 1950’s mission requirements?

      At the end of the day the USAF will get the tanker they deserve. What more could the taxpayer possibly care about, other than an unnatural attachment to a company founded in the USA with worldwide operations? Same goes to the European EADS attachment.

      I will clarify that comment strongly. If the RAAF has requirements for Indian & Pacific Ocean Deployment, & deems the A-330 the plane of choice, from it’s own white paper through to capability requirement analysis, and through the countries own Independent aquisition department – that says a lot about emphasis on force & capability projection as opposed to replacement mentality. Last time I checked the RAAF was not rolling in money. Last time I checked they have to refuel the same spectrum of aircraft. Last time I checked they have the same infrastructure problems. Last time I checked they were just as able and had been able of conducting aerial refuelling operations as anyone else was.

      So, how can such a different conclusion be reached in an RFP for a country (US)with very similar strategic & wartime requirements, as a competent, first world, well respected country with a corruption (read oversight) Index rating higher than that of the US. Thats not saying the U.S is corrupt – it is however pointing out that a very different conclusion was reached by a country that shoots straight – Which lacks these political ties.

      One final point. Basing some RfP criteria on capability formulated from the capability of an existing platform to meet that criteria – such as separation distance does not point make – especially when the formulation of those initial requirements are not looked @, re-examined & tested over time. More so if in practice & service of other armed services finds this so for their platforms.

      One gets an idea of how easily any decision can be appealed.

  2. Technically speaking, can the RFP deadline be extended?

    Politically, it would be very unwise.

      • “Politically unwise” in Kansas and Washington, where else?

        Connecticut where Pratt & Whiney build the engines
        New York where parts and avionic subbasemblies are built.
        Texas where fuselage assembles are made.

        On and on…

        I would venture to say that the vast majority of American states would far much better, outside of a region of Alabama and possibly Mississippi , with the almost certain Boeing award.

      • Sorry, but as far as value is concerned, it’s primarily Kansas and Washington that have the most to gain from the KC-767. For example Just look at the crude behaviour of Tiahrt and Dicks compared to the seemingly rational behaviour on this matter from most other US congressmen/-women and Senators.

        Now,most of the Tier-2 suppliers (parts, avionics) have, more often than not, contracts with both OEMs

        The General Electric CF6-80C2 turbofan engine for the KC-45 would have been made in North Carolina and Ohio.

        As for other US based Tier-2 suppliers on the A330 (still quite a few smaller vendors not mentioned):

        -Airframe Systems / Airframe Assemblies

        Boeing Aerostructures Australia: Winglets: A330/340 basic; wingtip & winglet: stretch version wingtip & winglet; Aircraft Doors: A330/340 basic; main undercarriage doors, floor structures.

        GE Aviation Systems (Whippany): Wings: Wing trailing edge.

        GE Aviation Systems – Rockford: Bleed Air Systems.

        Vought Aircraft Industries: Wings: Wing components.

        Vought Aircraft Industries (Contour Aerospace): Wings: Flaps, spoilers, fairings, upper panel assemblies, mid- and outer-leading edge assemblies, box ribs, mid rear spars, center spar assembly, stringers.

        -Power Systems / Engines

        GE Aviation – Aircraft Engines: Turbofan Engines: CF6-80E1 engine for A330-200/300.

        Pratt & Whitney Large Commercial Engines: Turbofan Engines: PW4000 engines.

        -Airframe Systems / Fluid Power

        GE Aviation (Mechanical Systems LA): Hydraulic Fuses.

        -Airframe Systems / Landing Assemblies

        Goodrich Aircraft Wheels & Brakes: Aircraft Wheels: Wheels & brakes (Goodrich-Messier).

        Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company: Tyres.

        Honeywell Aircraft Landing Systems: Carbon Brakes:
        Aircraft Wheels: Main wheels.

        -Avionics / Flight and Data Management

        GE Aviation Systems: Digital Flight Management Systems: Flight management system (with Thales); navigation database.

        Honeywell Aerospace: Flight Management Systems: Flight management systems; data management unit.

        Rockwell Collins: Avionics Management Systems:
        Integrated information system; aircraft integrated network system.

        -Avionics / Imaging and Visual Systems

        Honeywell Aerospace Electronic Systems: Weather Mapping Radar: IntuVue advanced weather radar (future availability).

        Rockwell Collins: Weather Mapping Radar: WXR-2100

        Components / Sensors, Transducers & Detectors

        Crane Aerospace & Electronics – ELDEC Corp: Proximity Sensors.

        Goodrich Sensors & Integrated Systems:
        Sensors/Transducers: Pitot probe; angle of attack sensors; in-flight ice detection sensors; potable water sensor; total air temperature sensors.

        Source: http://www.airframer.com/aircraft_detail.html?model=A330_A340

        NB: Please do note that this is only for the A330. A KC-45 based on the KC-30 would use additional military systems where 90+ percent would be made in the US.

    • No he didn’t. He said they had no time to find a new partner (prime or sub contractor) in order to be able to provide an offer in the short time remaining until May 10th.

      • Quote: “We will not compete because the RFP is based on a smaller, less capable airplane. This is giving a huge advantage to the 767. ” He knows there’s simply no chance to win.

      • Well, I listened to the entire EADS Annual Results Webcast. Not everything he said there has been reported on in the press, Also, he’s a long way from being a fluent english speaker, and consequently can’t seem to articulate himself well in the english language.

      • I too listened to Gallois and understood everything he said in English. Obviously he has a heavy French accent, but his English is very fluent.

        Saying, he, “can’t seem to articulate himself well in the english language,” seems more driven by a wishfulness to garnering support for another Airbus opportunity. Degrading his communications skills is an easy way to allow efficacious reinterpretation.

        Perhaps it is the listener’s skills which require improvement.

      • Whatever.

        There was no intention on my part to ” degrade his communications skills”. If you got off your high horse, perhaps you’d be able to see that. What I meant to point out was that when you’re conducting a press conference in a language which is not your mother tongue — in this case the English language — it’s easier to be misinterpreted by the assembled press (in this case, the English-language press).

        One should keep in mind that when you speak peak a language which is not your mother tongue, it’s not just about knowing the definition of a word or grabbing your dictionary or thesaurus, to complete your train of thought. It’s about choosing the right word, then knowing when and how to use it as there are certain nuances in every language that are different, and literal translation doesn’t work at all.

        Sure, the quote from Zorglub is correct. Gallois did in fact point out that “We will not compete because the RFP is based on a smaller, less capable airplane. This is giving a huge advantage to the 767. ” However, he also pointed out that “they had no time to find a new partner (my interpretation of those words is: prime or sub contractor) in order to be able to provide an offer in the short time remaining until May 10th.” This is somewhat contradictory, and it indicates that he very likely didn’t intend to make an absolute statement that somehow “this was it”, and under no circumstances would EADS submit a bid. Clearly, the English-language press reported on the latter and not on the ambiguity of Gallois’ words.

      • Frankly, Gallois’ English grammar, if not his enunciation, is on par or even at a higher level than most. Do you suggest the entire world’s press misinterpreted his thoughts? And, just a hopeful few wish he is being coy, aloof or purposeful?

        You’ve proved my point in mincing his words. At a minimum the search was on for ambiguities in evidence of an opening, an glimmer of hope, EADS/Airbus Mil. could come back to the competition.

        Your “interceptions” nor none of our combined thoughts are good arguments from authority. Yet, from a pure amusement perspective, I hope you’re right.

  3. So, is it impossible or just unlikely that EADS would find a new US prime (LM/GAC) AND offer 179 330 tanker for less than 101% of the cost of 179 767 tankers (even with 787 cockpits) however long the deadline is extended…

    Or is this a ploy by EADS/USAF to pressure Boeing into keeping it’s offer sharp and serious…

  4. Most probably it is just a PR move to satisfy the ” french” home crowd, and to include ( a rarity for the french ) le boche in the french equivalent of ” us against them- solidarity forever” routine.

    Within 60 days or so- they would have no choice but to submit the NOC bid, albeit maybe- perhaps without the fuzzy dice in the windshield, the flashy hubcap spinners, the dark tinted windows, the verbal command cruise control, and glitter cherry red paint job. Only a few days to rewrite the folders and brochures, the power point presentations, and reduce the emphasis on bigger is better.

    As to the real costs and prices , theymcan lowball it, have the EU bailout when the U.S refuses to grant extra funds. After all, with EADS/Airbus, it has NEVER been about profit as we define it- its about PRIDE, and JOBS JOBS,JOBS while establishing a toehold in then U.S.

    What they lose on each plane, they plan to make up in volume. When the U.S tries to hold back the funding and enforce the fixed price contract. they will threaten to pick up their ball and go home . .

    After all when you have them by the cojones- their hearts and minds ( and pocketbook ) will follow

  5. “We do not believe Lockheed Martin, L-3, Raytheon or General Dynamics will join EADS.”
    If NG has indeed pulled out, who’s left? General Atomics? Are they (technically) required to have a U.S. prime?

    • As we understand it, EADS North America could submit the bid as a qualified US “citizen.” The need for L-3, Raytheon, GD or Lockheed is the expertise as the integrator of the systems, as we understand it. This may or may not be entirely accurate.

      • Thanks. Given O’Keefe’s comments in the AW&ST article , it would present a significant change of mind. Here’s the link to “EADS Was Unable To Prime On KC-X”.
        http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/story_generic.jsp?channel=aerospacedaily&id=news/asd/2010/03/11/10.xml&headline=EADS%20Was%20Unable%20To%20Prime%20On%20KC-X

        Maybe this “leak” from the “congressional source” is mischief?

        WRT the politics, Dr. Loren Thompson is quoted (Seattle PI Blog) as saying that if DOD extended the deadline, “it will get its head handed to it by the U.S. Congress.”

        I couldn’t agree more.

      • Well, in that blog entry, Loren Thompson is also talking about “subsidies”, and he does it once again with little understanding of what actually transpires with the two large complaints at the WTO. Also, I seem to recall that he recently had his head handed to him in this blog regarding him not knowing the fact that there also is a case against the US (Boeing), and not just against the EU (Airbus).

  6. The smartest thing that Airbus can do is to bid with the A321 as Airbus America.
    It seems that Airbus can prove that there were no subsidies for the A321, the A321 is very similar sized to the KC-135, the PW2043 has enough power and is made in the US, all you need is to migrate the KC-30 military technology to the A321 and create a new wing for the engines and the lift that the USAF requires.

    The A321 being a current platform will have more lifetime that the B767 which is in their final cargo orders and need the tanker order to stay open. Additionally, the A321 will cost less than the B767.

    • Agreed. They don’t need to create a new wing though, as they can use the existing wing and T-tail from the A400M. They could either keep the TP-400 D6 engines (built in the US) or use 4 new GE LEAP-X engines on a slightly modified wing (mostly new pylons). Even the A400 MLG could be used unmodified although new outboard gear pods are required.

      • Why does the A321 need a T-tail? The KC-135 does not have one.
        Also, wouldn’t going for the A400M wing mean that the wing will be on the top instead of the bottom of the frame?

        This might complicate engineering adding unnecessary risk and expense.

        A modification of the existing wing to support the PC2043 engines will also accomodate more fuel than it currently holds and will also accomodate a stronger landing gear.

      • The fuel volume in the existing A321 wing + the fuel volume in 10 ACTs on the lower deck will simply not be enough. They would need to make a wing modification a la the A345/A346 wing with a tapered wing insert. That’s a very expensive proposition. By using the A400M wing instead, Airbus would only have to develop a new centre fuselage section. However, this will be a much more simple undertaking than what’s normally done in a low wing configuration as the centre wing box on a high wing configuration is basically just bolted on to the top of the fuselage with two reinforced circumferential frames between the wing attachment points and the MLG attachment points.
        The T-tail is required because of the high wing configuration.

      • obviously OV-99 is a qualified structural- aerodynamics expert ( on model airplanes e.g flight of the phoenix )

        a ” simple “- redesign as suggested should only take 60 days for a credible bid?

        Somehow – I dont think so

      • 60 days, or about the same time required for the A350 to A350-XWB transformation in the spring of 2006. The design was “credible” enough for Singapore Airlines to sing on with a LOI at the Farnborough Air Show

        As for the aerodynamic aspects of the design, you would have a lower body-form drag, and the interference drag would be slightly less than on the A400M as well, partly due to the significantly smaller cross-section; and as already mentioned, the structural modifications to a fuselage barrel with an A400M-type high wing is significantly less than what is required when designing a new wing-carry-through structure for a low-wing configuration.

    • A321 Tanker? That would be the little sister of the
      previously proposed Frankentanker, right?

      Excessive amount of developement with no
      utility beyond this project.
      you loose the outer wing hardpoints.
      you gain extra tankage in the hull.
      you would have to do the integration
      again for a narrow body aircraft.
      A310MRTT integration portage to the A330MRTT
      is a very limited effort in contrast.

      Like a 777 Tanker this would be a project
      stuck to the drawing board for quite some time to come.

  7. OV-999, Aurora.

    Loren Thompson’s job is “Strategic Communication”
    not “Objective Analysis” though he may label his publication as such.
    He fits well into the system.

    • That’s your opinion because you don’t care for his conclusions. In the Pentagon however, his conclusions are taken quite seriously as he’s considered an influential analyst.

      • His method of analysis is faulty. Thus the result has little value.
        His fault lies in building his “analysis” on a carefully selected
        buquet of facts. From a single instance one could accept oversight
        or carelessness. But I went through most of his recent essays
        and like his coposters this style is a consistent design aspect of
        the site. ( Lexington Institute )

        Lets take a well known example from elsewhere:

        11. The SU build missile embankments on Cuba targeting the US.
        12. Soviet ships with a possible load of missiles where sighted.
        13. US and SU got into a shouting match and a possible nuclear escalation..
        14. The US president put his foot down and was able to effect Soviet withdrawal.

        These 4 points constitute the “well known” information about the Cuba Crisis.
        conclusions are obvious : SU started it, US won the match 😉

        Now add:
        10: US builds Jupiter missile sites in Italy (25 missiles) and Turkey ( 50 missiles, all with nuclear warheads )

        15. The Jupiter missiles are silently removed in the month following the soviet withdrawal from Cuba.

        After extending the fact coverage a bit the conclusion is obviously inverted.
        One could probably continue including further onion wrappers and every time
        the absolutely factual, carefully analytical and objective conclusion will change.

        Now my conclusion here is that Mr. Thomson is quite good at his job and has a fine hand in carefully exposing only those facts that allow a satisfying analysis without being ( seemingly sucessfull ) too obvious in his methods.

  8. Loren Thompson, apparently, wrote in his inaugural post on his blog that he was to be “long on facts — especially little known, useful facts — and short on opinions.”

    Me thinks he’s long on opinions and surprisingly misinformed on even the most trivial matters. One would assume that even if you’re working as a strategic communication consultant with a very high public profile, you’d make it your business to be accurate in your assertions, but of course, since it seems to be in his client’s interest to portray the facts of the matter in regard to the trade dispute, as inaccurately as possible, he’s ironically doing is job much better for his client than if truly knew what he was talking about. 😉

  9. The Euros should simply buy a lot of, say, 50 KC-45 tankers for their own use and start selling/leasing air refueling services to US Forces in transit.
    If the KC-45 is so much better, then service/leasing rates should be hard to beat.
    If the French and the Brits wouldn’t be such a bunch of egocentric wannabes blinded by their former greatness (which has long been gone and will never come back), the Euros would be able to better maintain their own industrial base and compete with the US on the global defense market more successfully.
    Rant over.

  10. There will be NO bid from EADS, under NO circumstances:

    EADS Chairman Louis Gallois clearly stated on
    March 12, 2010:

    “When Northrop Grumman, which is one of the most important defense suppliers in the United States, makes the analysis that they have no chance to win, I don’t think that we have more chance going alone,” he said. “That’s clear for us.”

    Also Airbus CEO Dr. Thomas Enders made it clear
    at a press conference for european media, that the tanker deal is dead and EADS will not take part, neither alone nor with another partner than
    Northrop-Grumman.

  11. To: OV-099 on March 14, 2010 at 6:42 am

    You can even speak in your mother tongue
    with perfect control over wording and it will
    be missrepresented in certain press domains
    if it can be made to fit an agenda.

    • True.

      Also, selective journalism is a trait of the accuracy-challenged press.

  12. A lot of the aparent lack of accuracy
    can be attributed to
    “just under the surface” allegory.

  13. If your mission is to provide cheap refuelling for currency, The USAF should have done what every one else did years ago, convert the fighter fleet to Probe & Drogue. This argument was passed over & why the F-105 was equipped with both. Bottom line is, that the USAF is flying from the Boom because of SAC requirements. P&D is a lot more flexible (literally) in operation as both the USN/USMC recognise (alone with every other air arm)

    The bottom of the line is this, the USAF has been in the ridiculous situation of non-redundancy & refuelling bottleneck for years, based around an fitting process based on the refuelling platform, hindering the operational safety & capability of it’s tactical fighter fleet.

    If you want cheap currency, get a Buddy pack. It puts other platforms to shame in this respect.

    But then we can highlight the problem the USN faces with the limited capability of buddy refuelling over Afghanistan. Likewise, we can highlight the offload / range / Time on station the suits the operational theatre with the only game in fixed wing force projection really in theatre for consideration in town: the USN.

    None of that is knocking the boom process, Bombers need it. Fighters can’t make adequate use of it.

    But the point is, the USAF consistently hinders itself & others – probe & drogue recalcitrance is case in point. You don’t want small capacity tankers supporting navy operations for obvious reasons.

  14. Hmmm. Monsieur Aboulafia seems to forget that the french are currently using a U.S. built tanker. How many French/European built items are the U.S. forces using?
    He is right. It is all about politics. both european and american.
    I like his dangling the US101 contract being resurrected like a little carrot. The contract was awarded but (like the man says) we are dealing with american party politics and the democrats have taken the first step to ensure that no american president has to fly around in a “french” helicpoter.
    Look at it this way. The europeans are seeing that they won’t get any big or prestigious military contracts from the U.S. When they do get one awarded, the american politicians work to ensure that the contract is overturned or outright cancelled through budgets. The europeans have no faith in the concept of american “fair trade”. The U.S. to the europeans is what China is to the U.S. as far as trade is concerned (buy from us but we don’t buy from you & deal with our undervalued currency). And you all are surprised that their is such an uproar. It isn’t really. They all are just realizing that the great transatlantic partnership isn’t what they thought or hope it would be. America wants quid pro quo but Europe is wondering when the pro quo starts happening.

    Then there is the attitude and behaviour and outright lack of respect. Why does he call a french politician a blithering idiot for spouting hyperbole, when there was a whole flock of american politicians doing the same thing 2 years ago? I didn’t hear him using such names back then. Would he have the guts to call Dicks or Murray blithering idiots? But them foriegners is fair game.
    Big man.

    • First payback due to tanker RFP?

      [i]”British tank industry on the wrong track?

      If the Scout deal goes to a US firm it will kill the British tank industry, and shine a spotlight on the UK’s open defence policy. Sarah Arnott reports

      BAE Systems yesterday launched a last-ditch attempt to win the £2bn deal tank deal which the Ministry of Defence (MoD) is poised to give to US rival General Dynamics.

      Taken in isolation, the decision on the 600-vehicle first phase of the multibillion-pound “Future Rapid Effects System” (FRES) programme simply proves the unrivalled openness of the UK defence market. But, coming just a week after Europe’s EADS pulled out of the bidding for a $35bn (£23bn) US defence contract claiming that the terms of the deal “clearly favour” Chicago-based Boeing, the decision is reigniting the debate about the long-term impact of Britain’s “level playing field”.”[/i]
      http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/analysis-and-features/british-tank-industry-on-the-wrong-track-1921921.html

      • if you look at the pedigree of the ASCOD II
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ASCOD_AFV
        things get even more interesting.

        You have a simillar situation to the
        “all american” Stryker IFV
        which basically is derived from the swiss
        MOWAG Piranha III.

        Lots of rebadged stuff around 😉

  15. Amy Butler of Aviation Week has just published (today) this update on the competition. She has good contacts in Washington DC and has in the past had a good sense of where things stand. Her article, datelined today (03-16-2010) , doesn’t mention any alleged request for an extension of the RFP deadline by EADS.

    http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/story.jsp?id=news/awst/2010/03/15/AW_03_15_2010_p26-210994.xml&headline=KC-X%20Sole-Source%20Contract%20Will%20Draw%20Scrutiny&channel=defense

    That report from a “congressional source” may turn out to be “mischief making” after all.

    P.S. The article notes that NG made an official notification to DOD on 03-08-2010 of their intentions not to bid.

  16. No source.

    Just thinking ahead -strategically.

    It’s pretty obvious how OUR politicians are going to have to solve this problem. Look now-
    The US Air Force gets it’s tanker(s), Boeing gets a contract, EADS gets a contract, jobsjobsjobs, more competition for Boeing if Airbus opens a factory in the US (is that a bad thing?).

    If they don’t split it…

    At the end of the day we can all go back and forth about technical differences, needs of the service etc. etc. but now everyone is at a dead end. NO politician/bureaucrat is going to bite the bullet and pick the BEST plane (whatever that is.) A & B make good products. There are more good reasons to SPLIT the procurement.

    Smarter people than me in this forum string can lists the pros and cons and the political ‘Kabuki’ to make this deal happen.

  17. Meanwhile:

    WASHINGTON, March 18 (Reuters) – The Pentagon would consider “reasonable extensions” of the deadlines in the U.S. Air Force tanker competition, but has not received any such requests so far, spokesman Bryan Whitman said on Thursday. “We would consider reasonable extensions of the deadlines in the RFP (request for proposals) if necessary,” Whitman told Reuters.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSWAT01423220100318?type=marketsNews

    AND:

    “The head of European Aeronautic Defense & Space Co. NV (EADSY) on Thursday left the door open to re-entering the controversial multi-billion dollar contract to replace aerial refueling tankers for the U.S. Air Force.However, Chief Executive Louis Gallois said any such move would require the Pentagon to extend a May 12 deadline for bids. Gallois said at a briefing in New York that the Franco-German company had not decided whether to re-enter a contest where Boeing Co. (BA) is the sole announced bidder. ”

    http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20100318-709507.html?mod=WSJ_latestheadlines

    • Confirmed.

      http://www.eadsnorthamerica.com/1024/en/breaking_news/2010%20Press%20Releases/2010_03_19_announcement_on_us_tanker_program.html
      Arlington, Virginia, March 19, 2010
      Today EADS released the following press announcement:

      Yesterday the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) indicated it would welcome a proposal from EADS North America as prime contractor for the KC-X tanker competition. This is a significant development. EADS is assessing this new situation to determine if the company can feasibly submit a responsive proposal to the Department’s request for proposal (RFP).

      And while this development is a positive sign that the DoD seeks competition, it does not address EADS’ underlying concerns that the RFP clearly favors a smaller, less capable aircraft, and that the additional combat capability offered by our system may not be fully valued.

      An important prerequisite for our consideration of entry into this competition will be a significant extension to the period within which to prepare and submit a proposal. EADS welcomes the DoD’s recent statement which indicated a willingness to extend the timeframe. Though this is essential, it is only one factor in making a decision for EADS to compete. In the end, the company will only submit a proposal if there is a fair chance to win, after evaluating all relevant factors.

  18. I was wondering if the Russians would get into the act. After all, theirs would no doubt be the cheapest offer on price alone. One wonders if the lifetime costs can make it competitive and if it meets all of the requirements.

    If so, how is the Pentagon going to wiggle out of this one?

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