Tanker decision expected Thursday, Feb. 24, 5pm EST

It now appears the USAF will announce the tanker contract Thursday, Feb. 24, at 5pm EST. Expectations are that EADS will be awarded the contract, but there have been so many twists and turns that we’re not predicting the outcome.

The greater question will be, Will there be a protest? As we reported Monday, EADS says it won’t protest if it loses provided there is nothing egregious in the selection process. Boeing has clearly been laying the groundwork for a protest, but neither is it certain Boeing will do so if it loses.

Here is the timeline of what happens next:

  • The announcement is made.
  • The Department of the Air Force has 10 calendar days to brief the losing side.
  • The losing side can request an accelerated debrief.
  • The losing competitor then has 10 calendar days from the time of the debrief to file the actual protest with the GAO.
  • The GAO then has up to 100 calendar days to rule on the protest (they may take less time).
  • The results can be: 1.) GAO finds no merit and throws out the entire protest; 2.) GAO sustains part of the protest; 3.) GAO sustains all of the protest.
  • The GAO does not rule on whether or not the Department chose the right aircraft, which aircraft was better, etc. It only rules on whether the proper process was followed during the source selection.
  • The Department can then accept the ruling and provide a timeline for how they will address the issues the GAO ruled on and determine whether and how it impacts the outcome. Or, they can note the GAO ruling but proceed as originally planned.

29 Comments on “Tanker decision expected Thursday, Feb. 24, 5pm EST

  1. Usually- such a big deal is not announced until close of business on a Friday – to let the market evaluate over the weekend..

    Perhaps I’m paranoid, but something just doesn’t track . . . . ?

  2. last month it was rumored to be middle of the year, last week is was rumored to be Friday, now it might me Thursday…

    What are the odds the USAF is getting tired of reading this excellent and other blogs – and their commenter’s 🙂

  3. 1)There is just no way the EADS bid will be accepted. This has to be sitting on President Obamas’ desk and he can not allow this many jobs to go outside Americas’ borders. Our entire national recovery depends upon the creation of new jobs.
    2) The last place where job creation can be permitted is in defence, so the Boeing bid must also be refused.
    3) Finally, and most importantly, we can get by very well with the tankers we have in our existing inventory. We simply do not need the KC-X. Period.

    Daniel Sterling Sample
    Los Angeles


  4. Your point #3, Daniel, is correct. But th USAF wants another shinny new airplane.

    The question is how will President Obama let the unions of Boeing loose? I don’t think EADS will have many of its Alabama employees represented by any labor union.

    Then again, I don’t know how much involvment the President has had in the KC-X, if any.

    • How much of a pressure source do the real jobless numbers represent?

      By Euro recogning the rate is said to be above 20%.
      Some Union States will have even higher numbers.

      That imho provides quite a head of steam.

      Did the Toyota dissing work out the way it was supposed to?
      i.e. improve local munufacturer standing.

  5. Although not quite the ill conceived Frankentanker, the proposed KC767 would snare an awful lot of Boeing’s engineering resources for quite some time.

    An EADS win could well be a poison chalice as Boeing could truly roll up their sleeves and do some meaningful work on 797 or 737neo and 777NG, all to the detriment of Toulouse.

  6. It’s a nice contract to get, but it’s only 12-15 aircraft a year, or 10+ years to build 179 aircraft. Over the next decade, Boeing will turn out 6,000 or so airliners. Losing KC-X won’t make all that big of an impact on the company’s fortunes, even though Wall Street will probably punish the stock for a few days after the announcement.

    • It is about loosing or gaining a harem.

      Not standalone. Boeing is superseeded left and right.

      • What’s the harem? If Boeing isn’t going to make a lot of money on the deal, there’s not much point in winning the contract. This is true for both manufacturers.

  7. Rpx :
    What’s the harem? If Boeing isn’t going to make a lot of money on the deal, there’s not much point in winning the contract. This is true for both manufacturers.

    customers, subcontractors, … even political influence, a complete ecosystem.
    think harem in Sea Lion herd context.

    It is not about money per se but about the synergy of significance.

  8. It’s about selfconfidence
    it’s about selfesteem
    it’s about credit
    it’s about importance
    it’s about prestige

  9. The financial stakes are not that great with the tanker – perhaps more risk than reward. As noted by Andrew above, Boeing might be better served with the tanker off its plate. It could replace the 787 surge line with a larger permanent line where it is currently building 767s. Churning out more 787s once the 767 backlog is drawn down might provide a better return for shareholders – the main goal for Boeing’s management and Board of Director. Also, the US aerospace industry will be enhanced with the presence of EADS in America as they depart skills and know-how to american workers.

  10. One thing for sure…this is a lose-lose for Obama.

    Boeing win = European anger
    EADS win = Union anger

  11. There’s nothing wrong with a protest. This is a a very valuable contract that will run for more than a decade. Having the GAO review the process shouldn’t be considered a bad thing.

  12. Daniel Sterling Sample :
    This has to be sitting on President Obamas’ desk and he can not allow this many jobs to go outside Americas’ borders.

    If EADS wins, you are not talking about a lot of jobs leaving US shores. The 767 production line will not change unless Boeing makes the decision to close it down. That is a decision for Boeing management. I think they will do that to make room for a parallel 787 production line, and the people who are currently working on the 767 FAL will move across to the 787. No jobs lost at Boeing.

    EADS will build a new FAL for the A330, it will also build a new secure conversion centre to convert A330s into tankers. These are construction jobs being created, and numerous other permanent unskilled jobs that go with setting up a new facility such as that. The FAL will make new A330s, both for civil customers, and for the USAF, that will create a lot of new skilled positions to the area as well.

    EADS would be created a large number of skilled and unskilled positions in its new FAL. The FALs need new people, these are new jobs being created.

    The US aerospace sector already sees a lot of jobs coming from the A330, about half of each A330/A340 is sourced from US manufacturers, even more when US made engines are used. There is already an extensive network of suppliers that are employing thousands of people making components for the A330/A340, some suppliers may need to increase the staffing levels for the modest increase in production rate to support the additional A330s frames, most I think would be able to use their current staff to make the additional components.

    With up to 11 A330s being made a month at the moment, that is equivalent to 5 full airframes being made in the US each month. EADS has plans to build up to an additional 4 A330s a month (a combination of freighters and tankers) in the new FAL, like they build 4 A320s a month in their new FAL in China. This would be equivalent to 7 complete A330s being made each month in the US.

    The 767 is being made at the rate of 1 airframe per month, if they get the contract it will made at the rate of 2-3. You will not see a massive rise in employment, if any at all. The current production line is underutilised. Like the A330, the 767 already an extensive network of suppliers that are employing thousands of people making components for the 767, most suppliers would not need to increase the staffing levels at all production rate to support the additional 1 or 2 airframes a month, most I think would be able to use their current staff to make the additional components. No jobs would be created.

    Even if Boeing gets the contract, they are supporting fewer local jobs than what the A330/A340 currently is, as only 2-3 767 will be made a month, compared to equivalent of 5 or so A330s.

    If EADS get the contract, they will build a new wide body FAL, they will increase production rates in the US, they will be creating tangible new jobs, the same cannot be said for Boeing.

  13. Much as I would prefer a split order, with the decision so soon after final bids, I suspect it will be a winner take all outcome, as some discussions with Boeing and EADS would have been necessary surely before a split buy statement?

    • The only interesting detail:

      Will this preempt protests from both sides
      or will now both sides have the right to protest?

  14. I would be amazed if they split the contract. We’re talking about annual buys of 12-15 aircraft. The program would be a lot more expensive than it would otherwise be if two makers are involved.

    Meanwhile, the Air Force is talking about a next generation bomber that Boeing will want to bid on, and CSAR-X for which Boeing is the leading candidate. It’s not in Boeing’s interest to go too crazy and burn bridges.

  15. and now that mcboeing won the tanker con it’s ask mr&mrs joe taxpayer for $600 millon as it got it’s sums wrong oops before it’s taken to the air i think airbus is luckee to have lost.

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