Airbus critics reach low blow in forthcoming KC-Y competition

By Scott Hamilton


Jan. 4, 2022, © Leeham News: The US Air Force KC-Y tanker competition hasn’t even started but Boeing partisans already have the knives out.

For at least the fourth time, an OpEd appeared attacking Airbus for illegal subsidies. For good measure, the writer also pointed to Airbus’ misdeeds in its bribery scandal and other misadventures. All this in what increasingly appears to be the opening shots in a campaign to politicize the coming KC-Y Bridge Tanker procurement.

Once more, Boeing will be pitted against Airbus and the KC-46A against the A330 MRTT. This time, Airbus partnered with Lockheed Martin to take on Boeing. The latest column hit the Internet on Christmas Eve. This time, a Congressional staffer called on Airbus to be “Grounded” in the KC-Y competition.

This column was one of the most irresponsible commentaries seen so far. And this is saying something.

Distorting, ignoring the facts

The writer hit Airbus for illegal subsidies under World Trade Organization rules. The WTO authorized the US to levy $7.5bn in tariffs on European Union industries, including Airbus but also unrelated aerospace sectors. But the writer ignored the fact that the WTO found Boeing received illegal subsidies. The organization authorized the EU to levy $4.5bn in tariffs on Boeing and other non-aerospace US sectors.

Then writing about a list of penalties levied on Airbus for other misdeeds, the writer cited more than $4bn in penalties for its bribery scandal. She implied this was paid to the US government, which is false. Only $500m was paid to the US, and this was for violating regulations called ITAR. ITAR restricts what US technology may be exported. Airbus uses huge amounts of US technology on its airplanes. The US found Airbus improperly exports some technology. But so has Boeing, which also has been fined for improperly exporting technology covered by ITAR. The regulations are complicated, and compliance isn’t easy. But the writer only pointed to Airbus, and she mixed apples and organs in doing so.

Airbus certainly has a history of fines. But so does Boeing (see chart).

Source: Boeing fines 2000-2021. Does not include $4.5bn in WTO violations or a $17m safety violation fine from the FAA last year.

Low blow

In an especially low blow, without any foundation, the writer wrote near the top of her column, referring to Airbus, that, “It’s not that the company’s planes are necessarily dangerous. Perhaps they are….”

None of Airbus’ airplanes have been grounded. Boeing’s 787 and 737 MAX have been. The former’s lithium-ion batteries caught fire. One fire was on the ground in an empty airplane and the other near-fire was on take-off after V1. The pilot immediately returned to the airport and evacuated the airplane. There were only minor injuries during the evacuation. Had either plane been at cruising altitude, the probabilities that the planes would have been lost and all aboard killed were high.

The MAX story is well known.

Source: Boeing

According to the group, Violation Tracker, Boeing was fined more than $119m for 34 aviation-safety violations in recent years. This does not include last year’s $17m fine imposed by the FAA for more safety violations.

Pointing the finger at Boeing

Given the history of the KC-X competition in which Airbus’ illegal subsidies were a major campaign issue by Boeing partisans, speculation immediately arises whether Boeing is behind this new campaign. The theme is common through four known OpEds. One of the writers is Loren Thompson, who blames the Air Force and the US government for Boeing’s tanker woes and Airbus’ subsidies while ignoring Boeing’s own technical, production, and quality control performance shortcomings. Thompson’s think tank receives money from Boeing.

But Boeing didn’t coordinate these three writers and their four columns, says a person familiar with the situation. Nor did it pay them or select them to write these OpEds. As for the Christmas Eve column questioning the safety of Airbus airplanes, Boeing was not happy, this person says.

“Safety is an area that comes around and can bite you,” the person says. There is an unwritten rule that safety is not a topic for discussion. “Why would you do that when you’ve come out of two or three years of appalling safety concerns?” the person rhetorically asked, referring to the MAX crisis.

What’s fair game

Airbus partisans remain skeptical that Boeing’s hand isn’t behind the scenes somewhere. Boeing partisans likewise will suspect nefarious activities by Airbus as the KC-Y competition unfolds and things get nasty.

What is indisputably fair game is Boeing’s performance under the KC-X procurement. The KC-46A is billions of dollars over budget and years late. There has been a host of Category 1 deficiencies, the most severe under USAF rules. The KC-46As delivered still can’t fully perform the missions required.

Airbus’ A330-based Multi-Role Tanker Transport in service today isn’t strictly comparable to the KC-46A and the detailed requirements advanced by the Air Force. Airbus would have had to conform had it won the KC-X competition. But the MRTT delivered to other countries doesn’t have the same requirements. The MRTT, now called the LMXT by Airbus lead partner for KC-Y, Lockheed Martin, will require modifications.

These changes and the experience of Lockheed and Airbus in tankers will be fair game for Boeing partisans, just as Boeing’s performance in the KC-46A.

Technical and operating performance was somewhat dissected by the Hudson Institute, a conservative think tank in a special study last year. The study presents a dispassionate analysis of the KC-46A and MRTT.

Boeing’s incumbency presents advantages and disadvantages in the coming KC-Y competition. These are discussed this week in LNA’s series about the coming competition. The Airbus viewpoint concludes on Jan. 10, at which time the focus shifts to Boeing during the coming weeks. Sean O’Keefe, former president of Airbus Americas and a former NASA administrator, presented the Airbus view of the KC-X competition. Jim Albaugh, the president of Boeing’s defense unit during the initial competition with Northrop Grumman-EADS (Airbus) for the KC-X competition, presents the coming Boeing view.


Air Wars covers scandals at the KC-X tanker competition

Read more about the Airbus bribery scandal investigation that led to the $4.5bn in global fines, the Boeing MAX criminal probe that led to $2.5bn in fines and the KC-X competition in my book, Air Wars, The Global Combat Between Airbus and Boeing.

Air Wars is now available in paperback and eBook through Amazon and paperback through Barnes and Noble.

Royal Aeronautical Society

Named to the Top 10 List of Aerospace Books for Christmas Choices, 2021

Puget Sound Business Journal

(Seattle area.) No. 1 on the Christmas list of aerospace books for 2021.


No. 1 on its list of Best New Aerospace eBooks to read in 2022.


271 Comments on “Airbus critics reach low blow in forthcoming KC-Y competition

  1. If Boeing is behind this article its not doing itself any favours as news over the weekend came out that Boeing makes substantial donations to Republican senators that oppose democracy and climate laws through the senate.

      • DHR: All Corporations do that, they don’t care about the whole but only themselves.

        • Yes, they pay both parties and can then can concentrate on their business hopefully keeping happy owners; employees and customers with even better products in new versions in rapid succession. (Some others focus on just reducing cost and paying off debt)

        • “DHR: All Corporations do that,”

          Let me fix that for you:
          DHR: All _US_ Corporations do that,
          But the US as whole seems to live in its very own “The Czars new clothes” virtual “reality”.

          Reach of that projection seems to contract strongly in recent times.

      • My high school German will not carry me through this comment.
        Could ask my Swiss mother, but it’s nearly a different language, so not easy for her either.

    • I am disappointed Leeham has used a low level no one as a way to sensationalize a good topic.

      We don’t need to sensationalize nut cases or pick a nut case from the wilderness and raise them to this level.

      There is all too much of that in the general press much to all our detriment.

      • @TW, the low-level, as you term it, was posted on RealClear Policy, a page of Real Clear Politics, which is a well-read site. That gives her a level of credibility she doesn’t deserve.

        • I would agree with the author of the article that the playing field is indeed slanted in favor of Airbus. Not by government subsidies, but by the fact that Airbus execs are apparently not paid in stock and incentivized to ruin the future of the company to support the stock price of today.
          You want an even playing field? Force Airbus to replace top execs with a crop of ex-GE Welch sycophants compensated with generous stock options. That would fix their wagon.
          Of course, if Airbus were hollowed out Boeing-style it would merely open the door to the Chinese.

        • Scott:

          With all due respects, it should not be repeated as the author has a total lack of credibility of the author.

          Journalists (which I put you in that category) serve the public by not reporting nut jobs.

          I can think of other well attended sites that are also not worth mentioning.

          • “… as the author has a total lack of credibility …”

            Bit of a glasshouse thing you ask for?

            The meshing of US corporations and media is rife with low or zero credibility work. It all is targeted communications, designed to score and untouched by facts or reality.
            But you too work in that bubble.

          • This is the first time I have seen Leeham delve into what I call sensationalism.

            Real Clear Politics as a source, ungh. Not exactly widely read in the Aviation field.

            That would be like using Bryce as a source. Sometimes entertaining but nothing of substance.

          • Well, the engineers among us — with developed powers of abstraction — will be able to see that LNA is merely using the cited article as a vehicle to discuss an underlying attitude/strategy.

            Mechanics, on the other hand, may struggle to grasp this 😏

          • Bryce:

            I read the Sand Pebbles when I was 7 (except from the Saturday Evening Post)

            We had a reading test system when I was 5th or 6th grade. 8-12 colors, you had to score high in any color or keep taking the color. It was all a test on comprehension.

            I blew through all the Colors (Purple I think was the highest but it might have been Gold and Silver next.

            My family thinks I have read 5000 books, could be 10.

            So if you don’t want to keep getting this kind of information you can stop making dispersions. Or …….

    • “Republican Senators that oppose democracy” have you ever considered that most of us know what hyperbole is? Lets have an intelligent discussion here.

      -I think you will find that big manufacturing corporation such as Boeing make donations to both political parties in approximate equal measure for obvious reasons. They may favour certain candidates but not certain parties and are more than happy to invite some ex politicos on the board from both parties.

      I am reminded of certain religious extremist that declare people they don’t agree with as “enemies of God” in an attempt to dehumanise them.

  2. “There is an unwritten rule that safety is not a topic for discussion.”

    If anything has been shown over the most recent past 4 years, or so, is that unwritten rules (and even written ones) are to be ignored. After all, it’s coming up on one year that supporters were encouraged to ransack the seat of government – you really think a gov’t contract for an aircraft is going to get much attention?

    At the end of the day, probably the best Airbus can hope to do is keep Boeing honest on pricing.

    • “.. unwritten rules ..”

      For Boeing there no longer is room for civilized niceties.

    • The new unwritten rule is that 100% of free cash flow shall be spent on share buybacks and dividends.
      This supersedes the older rules, written and unwritten.

  3. “At the end of the day, probably the best Airbus can hope to do is keep Boeing honest on pricing”

    Not just Airbus — Lockheed Martin also.
    LM will laugh itself silly if B wins another contest on which it will never make a dime profit: after all, the best competitor is a loss-making competitor. And even better if the Air Force publicly lambasts that same competitor’s product.
    Manna from heaven.

    • Correct. Boeing is so incompetent right now (and the past decade+), it may be a bigger win for Airbus/LM to lose the bid.

      • As the bid from LM by itself is non viable, its pretty funny.

        As noted, if Boeing wants it, then they should increase the bid to a level just below what a combined LM/Airbus will bid.

        I do agree LM is laughing itself silly, unfortunate its because they have the F-35 which of course is a poster child for well done.

        • -> “I do agree LM is laughing itself silly, unfortunate its because they have the F-35 which of course is a poster child for well done.”

          Appears to me both U.S. contractors are incompetent. Lol.

        • Whats wrong with the LM bid by itself?
          Is this still the ‘secret stuff’ that even Lockheed isnt able to know about and fit out on some ones elses airframe build?

          • Duke:

            LM has the notion of competitive like the depths of the Mariana tench, so far into negative numbers as to be not on this earth (below it yes)

            To think they would win a cost shootout? Really? Can you say F-35.

            They got the F-35 on a wing and a prayer stunt and we have seen the horrid failure to execute that make the 787 program look like perfection.

          • @TW

            How come Lockheed/EADS were awarded the contract back in 2008? What happened to those “secret stuff”?? 🙄

            LM knows its main customer acts like a drunken sailor, the executives work to maximize the co.’s profits. It’s your beloved capitalist world. Why complain??

          • Pedro: It was Northrop Grumman and EADS, not LM.

          • The original contract win was Northrop-EADS not LM

          • There might be systems to be installed that require a US company to do it and calibrate/verify its functions that Airbus are not allowed to do, hence the Northrop/Lockheed involvement. It increases cost but might be required to meet DoD requirements.

          • I doubt that it requires US citizens at all.

            Airbus would not be allowed to bid unless their personal were fully cleared.

            One of the F-35 issues is the reporting system and not sending to the US information on how they are using it.

            All nations have aspects they don’t want their allies to be informed of. We all spy on each other.

          • Pedro:

            “It’s your beloved capitalist world. Why complain??”

            In fact as I have stated on numerous occasions, I detest it. I can vote and I do. Some politician are vastly better than others as is one party over the other, but in the end they are still politicians.

            I do what I can short of outright taking up arms (that rarely works out well as the French well know).

            Like most people in the world I am stuck with what I have not what I think is right or good. Its still better than a lot of places where someone at my level would have and does not have anything.

            How about listing your country and discussion its ops and history?

      • Airbus could exert pricing power. fixed deal: Airbus – 10%
        but a bit of Brinkmanship.
        What happens when Boeing sees the light and doesn’t take the bait 🙂

  4. It would appear as if the author, Lynn (Vakay) Haueter (a third-rate actress-turned GOP activist), is a now a Boeing paid hit-(wo)man/shill. LOL!

    In the link below*, she is going after Lockheed Martin and the F-35 — as the “expert” she supposedly is — while promoting the F-15 and F-18…..

    Response to Mrs Haueter: Yes, the F-35 is a boondoggle, but it’s just the top of the iceberg. The U.S. military’s incredible record of systematic failure — most recently its final trouncing by the Taliban after twenty years of death, destruction and lies in Afghanistan — should force “concerned citizens” and Boeing paid shills alike, to cry out for a top-to-bottom review of the Pentagons dominant role in U.S. foreign policy and a radical reassessment of its proper place in budget priorities of the United States Congress. Of course, Mrs Haueter won’t do that as she and the GOP enthusiastically support Congress looting the U.S. treasury for the military-industrial-congressional complex.


    • That same F-35 having won two very fair contests against all comers!

      • That same F35 having benefitted from a windfall along the lines of:
        “It’s an expensive, unreliable, underperforming failure…but, if you buy it, at least you’ll be compatible with the other idiots that chose it” 😏

        • LOL

          Direct up, you can get an F-35 for 70 million.

          Grippen E: 85 million.

          One you can see and one you cannot. But feel free to carry on with the unfounded statements.

          Reminds me of the ill informed Texans on the pipeline.

          • The F35 is being steeply discounted because the US armed forces are no longer interested in taking further units. A bit like the MAX in that regard.

            Put an external tank or missle on the F35 and its stealth is gone. And it needs those externals because of its low range and armaments.

            Feel free to continue indulging yourself in a fantasy.

          • Bryce:

            LM is not going to sell at a loss. Much like Hawaii with the 787 vs the A330NEO, Boeing was willing to go with less profit that Airbus did not believe they would.

            What you are ignoring (normal) is that the US and Italy (they make them there as well) assembled more F-35 in low rate produion than the entire Rafael , Grippen and probably Typhoon programs combined – EVER.

            750 made so far.

            The price always was going to come down as production settled in on a common build (ie major changes stopped )

            Yes there were issues and those were all avoidable (worse than the KC-46A, more like the 787).

            4 x F-35 could wipe out 20 other aircraft and keep repeating it as they would never see the F-35. That is a fact of life of stealth.

            They are trying to see a BB and they are like a Tractor Trailer signature wise. They can see (on radar) the F-35 at 5 miles, the F-35 sees them at 150. Maneuver in their Flanker and they are all toast and never see what shot them.

            Range is an issue but if you look at any fighter, they carry drop tanks. The F-35 can do that and dump them and have a full fuel load and be stealthy. Its not the best but it can be done and in a few days of air ops all opposition is shot down.

            The F-35 is intended to carry external stores, one the USAF or allies achieves air superiority, then there is no need of stealthy and you can carry whatever.

            Unlike the others, worst case they dump the external ordnance and are stealthy again.

            Israel is operating them over Syria at will. The Russian will not even try to defend Syria with the S400 (they keep them off).

            Israel has repeatedly destroyed the vaunted Pantair system (Syrian service).

            The F-35 is a large part but not the only part of that. But go ahead, argue with the Israelis Air Force who has by leaps and bounds the most combat experience any nation has had since Korea.

          • The Israeli Air Force has to put up with what it gets handed by the US…it doesn’t have any choice.
            What do you expect it to say?

          • Bryce:

            That would be factually wrong.

            Israel has a choice of the F-15, F-16 or the F/A-18 as well as the F-35.

            Currently they have F-15, F-16 and the F-35.

            I believe the F-16 is going away (replaced by the F-35).

            They really like the F-15 (Boeing product by the way though MD designed it and built it originally).

            Another swing and a miss on your part. I am afraid we have to regulate to back to the miner league.

  5. Do leeham get paid by Airbus. This blog is openly pro Airbus and anti Boeing all the time.

    • @Daveo: The answer is no and the premise of your statement is wrong.

      • While I often disagree with Scott ala Leeham, I have never seen a bias, in fact I think often he is too fair and charitable towards Boeing.

        While Leeham would say Boeing has problems, I would say they are a Train Wreck and I would put some expletives in front of that.

    • @Daveo,

      do you consider Udvar Hazy paid by Airbus?

      Or Emirates Tim Clark?

      Or FAA’s Ian Won, paid by Airbus?

      All pro Airbus and anti Boeing all the time? Or are you just shooting the messenger/ trying to influence Leeham news, to be more “balanced” ?

      • Or Qatar?

        Something about the coating breaking up and lightening protection wreaked?

        • Wrecked ? If a small patch does that , imagine what all those passenger windows do.
          For various reasons only some parts of a plane in flight are susceptible to lightning strikes. The highest risk zone are the nose, wingtips and forward engine nacelles, the next highest is the wing area around the engines and the fuselage.
          The lightning often has a multiple points of entry at high risk areas and then travels to an exit points so its the whole surface that matters not ‘small breaks’

          • That was explained in detail to him a few articles ago, but the penny hasn’t dropped.

          • I have seen the whole set of pictures.

            They are gruesome – I would not fly in an aircraft that looked like that.

    • Do you think the US House of Representatives is also “paid by Airbus”? After all, they’ve recently wiped the floor with Boeing in a number of critical hearings/reports.

      And perhaps national hero Capt. Chesley Sullenberger is “paid by Airbus”? He’s said very publicly that the MAX was “not up to modern standards”.

      How about Dominic Gates over at the Seattle Times? Surely he’s “paid by Airbus” in view of the scathing articles that he regularly writes.

      Golly, it looks as if the whole world is “paid by Airbus”…that must be a heck of a monthly bill!

      • Bryce:

        Yes, the House of Representatives is paid by Airbus. The US Supreme court has made bribes legal.

        See the Citizens Dis-United case

        • I need to amend that.

          The House of Representatives the worst, the Senate is bad, just every 6 years so they don’t take bribes until 2 years before the election (well they take the day in day out)

          Lobbyists run the system right now. Pisses me off.

          The Supreme Court is as corrupted by the elites as it was when the Dredd Scot (sp?) decision was put out.

          We can’t get any campaign finance legislation because the Supreme Court overturns it.

          I hate it all, we have some horrid domestic issues. Last time there was a Civil War. Everyone looses. Then slavery under another guise was allowed to drift back in (Jim Crow, voting laws currently)

    • @Daveo

      You are perfectly welcome to jump in on any conversation, on any comment and at any time – when you feel that there is some untruth’s being posted about Boeing. By all means, please point out when and where someone is incorrect in their assessment of any OEM, airline or anything to do with aerospace.

      You could start off right here, right now – by informing us where SH has gone wrong in his view of the situation.

      Have at it.

      • I wonder if these last couple decades worth of Boeing CEOs we’re paid by Airbus? Boy, that would explain a lot of things…

    • A disproportionate number of the posters are very critical of Boeing and there is sometimes a hint of anti Americanism in it. Moderator (Scott Hamilton) tolerates that bias of the posters (in the end its an opinion) so long as its on topic and doesn’t get personal. You can go to any on line forum and find this not just Leeham.

      Sometimes it looks like people are pilling on to Boeing but I think Boeing has been loosing a lot of friends in the US for decades including ex employees and union members, those critical of the McD takeover and the change in the culture of the company and its ethics.

      Airbus has a Bribery scandal, pretty much ancient history and its hard to regard it as a big deal. Boeing and its lobbyists are regarded with cynicism. Airbus is very popular, seen as imbedded and part of many countries. It employs people from many countries. When Airbus was formed the French regarded it as fighting for their children’s future, their possibility to partake in high tech.

      Personally I fear that Airbus may go through a similar cycle of destruction as Boeing as complacency and a burden of hangers on and parasites set in.

      • “A disproportionate number of the posters are very critical of Boeing”

        Why do you consider the number to be disproportionate?
        The underlying company is a complete mess — do you expect people to overlook that and try to be upbeat?
        What would you consider to be a proportionate number?


        “a hint of anti Americanism”

        Being critical of certain aspects of the US doesn’t equate to “anti-Americanism”. Criticism can also come from a friend, can’t it?
        Trying to point out to the Emperor that he’s stark naked — is that anti-Emperor?

          • I worked with a guy that had the favorite saying, do as I say not as I do.

            If you can’t take criticism, then you should not be uttering criticisms.

            That is the Definition of Anti. It applies to you but not me.

            The US is accused of gross ignorance of what goes on in the rest of the world.

            I find that is true no matter what country you are from.

            If this is the EU best then its indeed a sad commentary for that area.

        • Wasn’t refering to you in case you think that. I see nothing wrong with overtly taking a position and being biased though one should be fair, its better than pretending to be even handed but in actuality having bias. Still it helps to be reasonable and use sufficient caveats when presenting arguments simply because it tends to loose the very audience it is meant to persuade. If one gets labelled as a “Boeing” or “Airbus” fanboy people may stop listening.

          The US has some sad problems. The nexus between its traditional media, big tech media companies, big finance that owns it all and their manipulation of politics and censorship is the main one. A Journalists job is no more to inform the public for a fee but to control the narrative for a fee. Certainty freedom of speech is now nominal only.
          These problems exist outside the US of course, they are generally less severe, but then the US 1st amendment has provided a degree of protection and allowed some niches to exist unknown in Europe. I don’t think Germany has any freedom of speech on anything that matters for instance. The regional press however in Germany is incredibly good at discussing issues.

      • I am one of the commenters “very critical of Boeing”. Allow me to explain. I am an American aeronautical engineer and in my opinion the biggest threat to the future of commercial aviation in the US is not Airbus or the Chinese, it is the top executive management of Boeing.
        In a nutshell, the business culture these guys brought from GE via McD is to always invest as little as possible in quality, safety, and the future, and divert all cash to the shareholders to boos the stock price NOW.
        Consider new aircraft development: in 30 some years before the merger old Boeing did the 727, 737, 747, 757, 767.
        In 25 years since the merger the only clean sheet program of the new GE-Boeing is the 787, and this was a financial disaster. The 787 is not projected to earn a nickel during its entire production run.
        Instead of investing in the future of their product line, over the last 12 years or so Boeing has paid $63 billion to the shareholders, while they cut R&D spending down to nothing. Meanwhile snce the merger their market share has fallen from about 66% to about 35%.
        The list of horribly short-sighted decisions is long and growing. The MAX disaster was the most tragic and widely reported, but to many in the industry it was just the latest data point in a growing history of miscalculation, failure, and
        a shocking lack of integrity.
        Our dislike of Boeing management has been well earned!

        • According to John: ” The 787 is not projected to earn a nickel during its entire production run.” Discuss?

          • Boeing uses program accounting to smooth costs of the program over a projected block of sales.

            The balance is still some $18 billion (add to that another billion for the recent non-delivery of jets for the past 12 months) in the red, for the program.

            The 777X is in the same boat: BA just formally acknowledged that the program will not turn a profit and wrote off $6.5 billion in Q4 2020.

          • Yes, I have read this many different places. When the 787 program was launched Boeing commercial told the new GE-McD-Boeing board that they needed $12 billion and 6 years.
            The Stonecipher-led beancounters replied that you have $6 billion and 4 years.
            Boeing Commercial replied, the only way we can do this for $6billion is to outsource a lot more than ever before, suppliers will have to own first level of integration that Boeing has always performed.
            Response from GE-Boeing corporate: “OK, whatever….bored yawn…we don’t care how you make it happen, you have $6 billion and 4 years…make it so.”
            End result: about $20 billion over budget and 4 years late.
            Analysts (not me) compare the $20 development hole to the profit made on each 787 sold and project a net break even point of about 1500 units, which is considered the likely production run for the 787.
            Of course, since the new Boeing loves 60 year old airframe, who knows…maybe after selling 1500 they will re-engine the 787….they can call it the 787 ?Max.

          • Google profitability of 787 and you should find a number of articles.
            I wanted to paste a link to one but didn’t work for me.

      • A turd is a turd and stays a turd.

        Only super rosy glasses will enable
        you to see it as a gift from god.

  6. I expect Mrs Lynn Haueter will do her next article taking an objective closer look at both parties. And not so bluntly leave out anything what doesn’t support the objective. That would enormously improve her credibility professionally.

  7. Boeing literally created the flying boom concept of aerial refueling and has the patent. Airbus has broken into the Coast Guard and Army, now they are trying the Air Force. What’s next, they’re going to supply the next Air Force One?

    • “…and has the patent”

      Patents have a latest expiration date 20 years after filing (or, in the old US system, 17 years after grant).
      The flying boom concept stems from the 1950s, so any patents from then are LONG since expired.

      “What’s next, they’re going to supply the next Air Force One?”

      Well, Toyota has just ended GM’s 43-year run as the USA’s biggest auto supplier. However, as regards AF1, AB doesn’t have enough experience hiding tequila bottles in fuselages, so it would never qualify.

      • prior art:
        Felix Kracht ( post WWII of Airbus fame) during his time at the DFS developed a complete system for variable length aircraft coupling/towing and integral (re)fueling.

        • Airbus did push the A380.

          Not well taken as the US has its own aircraft. If we did not, A380 would be (ahem, interesting)

          Frankly I don’t blame Boeing employees from drinking on the job, I was often tempted myself!

    • Hmmmmm, one could do a lot worse then a double decker A380 as your leader’s transport.

    • MauriceAskew — “What’s next, they’re going to supply the next Air Force One?” Doesn’t that rather depend upon whether they offer the better airplane?

      • No, its a bid, it has to be 4 engine and I believe it has to be in production when chosen.

        And no, Airbus is not going to be allowed to bid on it as long as the US has a capable (747) offering.

        And if we don’t have the 4 engine they will use a 777.

        Do any EU countries use a 747/777 or 767 to run their folks around in?

        • Only France, Germany and Spain use wide bodies as dedicated HoG/HoS, all Airbuses. Same for ex-member UK. All the rest run single aisles, again mostly Airbus, or business jets. Exceptions are Poland, which has three 737s for government use, and the Netherlands, which has one. In both these cases, it’s connected to them being operated and/or maintained by the local flag carrier. Rumour has it in the Netherlands, it’s also a factor that the King is rated on the 737 and likes to fly himself.

        • Transworld – “Do any EU countries use a 747/777 or 767 to run their folks around in?” Which EU countries have the same point to make…?

          • Pundit:

            Point is Airbus wants to have free call to bid on US projects but the EU does not.

            Have any of the A330MRT in the EU been up for bid?

            Its pretty hilarious to have EU types complaining when their own entity does not do it.

            I am surprised France has not accused Finland and Switzerland of treason over Rafale rejection (it did not even make the final cut in Finland.)

            As the Rafael is nuke rated I am shocked the Germans did not take it.

          • TW are you aware of the amount of US fighters, helicopters, transport aircraft in the EU?

          • No, TW –> less shouting, more reading.
            The “point” is that, when an EU product bids in response to an invitation from the US — and that EU product is chosen by the USAF — trickery and subterfuge are subsequently used to manipulate the result of the bidding process.
            The “point” is that there’s no point in inviting tenders if the whole tender process is just a rigged show.

          • @ keesje
            No point in making that argument — he thinks that the EU orders such aircraft because they’re “better”…rather than from a desire (and US pressure) to keep things (semi-) standardized within NATO.
            Those days are coming to an end. The F35 was a big wake-up call in that regard. The Swiss parliament has already launched an investigation into the procurement process, and Poland is annoyed that the Czechs were offered a lower price per unit ($11 million).

            Critics are pointing out that this “stealth” aircraft loses its stealth when it carries external weaponry and/or fuel tanks…and, in practice, it will need those because of its (very) light weaponry and range. Its green glow compromises night ops. It’s slower, heavier and less maneuverable than other aircraft. It can’t fire its main gun, for fear that the airframe will disintegrate. The list goes on and on. Unfortunately, political decisions made years ago (when none of these failings were yet known) are very difficult to reverse.


            The emphasis going forward is on using more homegrown material, whether that’s compatible with NATO or not. South Korea is following a similar line — preferring to develop domestic products rather than buying from abroad.
            More bad news for the US trade deficit.

          • I am fully aware of the US Equipment in Europe.

            And I am fully aware of why. Europe keeps producing junk.

            That is why so many countries are dumping the NH90 and the Tiger.

            Overpriced, does not work, no spare parts. They are ego and jobs projects.

            Airbus succeeded with the A330MRT because it was not a government project (or as removed as Airbus can be from government influence).

            When they did the A400 and the governments all got their fingers in the pie, you saw the results.

            Germany bought the P-8 because the only flying anti sub bird is 100 years old (and one person points fingers at the B-52! – that is a hoot)

            The difference is the US military is serious and like the KC-46A, they make the contractors make it work. Yes like all military equipment there are issues, sometimes massive ones per the F-35.

            But, it is working and it brings capability to the table that Typhoon and Rafael cannot begin to match.

            The US has the inherent advantage of takign defense serious and putting the money into it the EU in general does not and will not.

            Even the sub set of NATO does not meet its obligations. Its ironic to see Germany buying F/A-18 to meet a nuke obligation when their defense spending is well under the 2% obligation.

            We also have a single market. Anything we make is going to be made in numbers. Its going to be lower cost and if it does not work from the start, it will be made to work.

            Right now EU has two competing aircraft for the same mission. That results in a high cost low production air frame at best.

            UK has shifted to working with Japan. amazing.

          • @TW
            “The US has the inherent advantage of takign defense serious”

            No, “taking defense seriously” is what other countries do…as opposed to squandering vast amounts of money on dysfunctional paranoia.

            With regard to US defense products, you’re confusing the relative quality of the past with the junk produced more recently — F35, KC46, Littoral,… Very like the Boeing story in that regard.


          • Bryce:

            How many MBT does the EU have (all in NATO of course)

            How many do the Russians Have? Troops, Aircraft etc?

            And what is the Netherlands going to do on its own? Didn’t the Spanish own it at one time?

            Tell me about efficient, LOL, A400 is 200 million plus and it hauls half the load a C-17 does. Yep, that is efficient.

            Our horrible F-35 is half the price of a Typhoon or Rafael.

        • “And no, Airbus is not going to be allowed to bid on it as long as the US has a capable (747) offering. ”

          That happens to be not the case.
          Airbus was asked and declined.

    • @Maurice Askew

      It’s well known that Boeing sold to the U.S. Government two 747-8i aircraft that were built and intended to be delivered to a now-defunct Russian airline, Transaero, and that the U.S. Government will also pay Boeing for the modifications and interiors (etc.).

      Now, Boeing (North American Aviation / Rockwell International) “literally created” the Apollo Command Module (CM). Then they created the Starliner — having the same 32 degree cone angle as the CM (etc.) — which is yet to fly its second (un-crewed) orbital flight test (OFT-2). In short, Boeing had the blueprint on how to build a manned space capsule, yet NASA somehow managed to award Boeing a higher-value contract for the Starliner — i.e. $4.3 billion compared to SpaceX’s $2.5 billion for the Crew Dragon. Now, it’s likely that SpaceX will have completed 2 Demo missions (one crewed) and 6 operational missions (of roughly 6 months duration) to the ISS before Boeing will be able to fly their first operational Starliner mission to the ISS. So, not only have Boeing squandered their lead in manned spaceflight to SpaceX, but they have stumbled so badly that questions are now being raised about the future viability of the Starliner programme. It’s good for Boeing, though, that the Senate Launch System (SLS) seems to be secure (for Boeing) for the time being.

      • OV:

        NASA felt that Boeing did not need the oversight that Space X did

        They admitted they were wrong.

        Understandable as Boeing should know better (and did better in the past) they just had not updated their outlook!

  8. If the Air Force sets higher monetary penalties for the aircraft not being operational, that is an objective measure if either aircraft wins.

  9. FYI, the Boeing retrospective on the KC-X competition begins in a series. Jim Albaugh was interviewed.

      • Keesje – does not the degree of interest depend upon the degree of frankness involved? What questions would you most like him to answer in detail?

        • Jim was a long term Boeing veteran involved in many strategic decisions until his retirement years ago. Scott / Jim will have no shortage on topics / opinions/ questions. 🙂

  10. As I noted yesterday, if BA can’t get at least 15% over real costs on the KC-Y, for God’s sake, “let it go” (to LMAB). I’m very, very confident it’ll be a massive fiasco for the makers of the F35 and A400! (LOL) Also, BA’s taken a lot of grief over it’s remote viewing tanking system. Perhaps the real issue is the AF is way pushing the technology limits in this case. “Old school” with a Mstr. Sargeant doing the tanking is almost always better! BA should NEVER had agreed to the remote vision tanking requirement! (This is what “whiz bang” tech gets you! Massive headaches, and bad publicity!)

    • I believe that the mistake was not going far enough. Distance perception is a problem for cameras, once you have made that choice it makes much more sense to just automate the whole thing

    • What problems do you see with A400M development program in contrast to C-17 development? A400M development was mostly delayed by costumers engine choice.

      “BA should NEVER had agreed to the remote vision tanking requirement!” – Then they shouldn’t have applied for the contract in first place. Todays standard is a remote vision with auto refueling.

      • MH:

        That would be wrong. Issues with the engines once chosen and the gear boxes as well as the huge added costs each time Germany added a specification no one else had (as well as the technical issue of producing the thing)

        A crash did not help.

        One a equal comparison the A400 is a worse over-cost disaster vs the KC-46A with a lot of money given back to Airbus for non performance of their promise

        Boeing is paying for their failures .

        • The engines were the problem. Airbus doesn’t make jet or prop engines.
          Can you remember the problems of the original C-130A or the C130-J ( just a new engine!)
          Can you remember the major problems of the C-5 , the C-17 before they were fixed and gave reliable service….much like the A400

        • @TransWorld

          Why don’t you just knock it off?

          Your factually incorrect ramblings are getting ever more tiresome to ward off.

          Nobody in the industry would be so stupid as to try to compare the A400M with the KC-46.

          If you want to critique the A400M, compare it to the C-130/C-130J and C-17.

          • OV:

            Well that struck a nerve. Tiresome works two ways. I find the anit American part tiresome though I have moved to humor now.

            But, remove the rhetoric and its a valid comment in to which programs to compare with which?

            In overall company performance, the A400 and the KC-46A is a valid comparison. You seem to have forgotten that Airbus put the A400 under the Airbus not EADS part of the company and it was a commercial development not military. Its been nothing short of a disaster.

            The C-130J has some issues but nothing like the A400.

            The C-17 had a lot of issues though that was under MD not Boeing.

            That comparison gives you twice the aircraft haul ability at the same cost. You do miss the short field landing part.

            Are you really going to risk either one in a contested environment? And not Kabul was not a contested environment.

            Or are you going to do what the French have and buy the C0130J because they need to get into smaller filed with less cargo than the A400 (French being very active in Central Africa vs the Brits who are not and are dropping the C-130)

            So there are a lot of ways to look at the A400 and yours is one and mine is another.

          • @TransWorld

            Again, you don’t know what you’re talking about. It’s widely accepted in the industry that Airbus made a cardinal mistake in accepting not only to develop the A4ooM on a fixed price contract, but also accepting that commercial terms could be applied to such a complex multi-nation defence procurement. No major U.S. defence contractor would ever have accepted to develop an A400M-type multi-role heavy lift aircraft, using new engine and composite technologies, on a fixed price contract.

            Fixed price contract awards to contractors is normally used to pay for things already developed and in steady state production where costs are known (i.e. A330 MRTT, KC-46, etc).

            Cost plus contracts move the risks back to the government(s) and are typically used for development and test programmes where the final outcome is not fully defined and there could be cost and schedule growth (i.e. C-17, B-21, F-22, etc.).

            So, that’s the issue here, and not your immature, inaccurate and confused ramblings about the A400M.

            BTW, the term “anti-American” is typically used to try to stifle debate by attempting to discredit viewpoints that oppose policies of the U.S. Government. In this setting, using the term “anti-American” appears to be the last refuge of the scoundrel.

          • OVO-99:

            You are trying to re-write history. Airbus proposed the A400.

            They then promised the world. They failed.

            While it is a combined Airbus and the related countries of France, Germany, the UK and Spain) failu8re, it is still a failure that Airbus incited .

            No US contractor is so stupid or arrogant as to start let alone accept a contract like that.

            The US is accused of using its military programs to advance the Civil Aircraft (Boeing). What was the A400 but to get a free chance to learn how to make composite aircraft ?

            The EU types point fingers but they don’t look at their own issues and get annoyed when I point them out.

            You guys have some serious hypocrisy at work there dude.

          • @ OV
            You’re wasting your time.
            Just compare it to scent-marking: running around peeing against every tree in sight in an attempt to stake out some sort of territory 😉

          • @TransWorld

            Hmm, using the word “dude”; isn’t that typical teen-speak?

            Now, what is astounding is not only the vast number of low quality posts that you’re producing, but also how often you are outright wrong about basic facts.

            However, in this case you are “upping the ante” by manufacturing alternative facts and posting misinformation about the origins of the A400M programme.

            In fact, it’s an outright dishonest falsehood claiming that Airbus “proposed the A400M.”

            Here’s what transpired:

            It wasn’t meant to be like this. The idea for a new troop plane was born in the Cold War 1980s to meet the pressing demand in Europe for greater mobility and lifting power. Its designers — both political and actual — came from a generation of leaders who deliberately tied once-rival wartime aircraft factories into a unified peacetime industrial venture.

            Designs for the plane, originally called Future Large Aircraft, were fleshed out in the 1990s to fill a gap between the Lockheed Martin LMT.N C-130 Hercules tactical transporter and the Boeing BA.N C-17, a large strategic transporter jet. Politically it marked a step away from dependence on the United States and pushed a vision of pan-European defense, extending important but smaller gains in fighter jets. Importantly, it would also provide thousands of industrial jobs.

            By the mid-1990s, following several false starts, the countries backing the project called in Europe’s commercial plane maker Airbus, made up of interests representing France, Germany, Spain and the UK. Could Europe’s answer to Boeing build the new troop carrier?

            Airbus boss Jean Pierson took one look at the plans and exploded. The politicians were telling him that the new plane would deliver a great leap forward in European defense capabilities. But Pierson saw something different: an unwelcome new ingredient in a carefully refined industrial recipe that had made Airbus jetliners a serious rival to Boeing. “Never! I don’t want to hear about this plane,” Pierson told the board. “We do civil aircraft.”

            Pierson was yanked back into line by the consortium’s shareholders and in 2003, long after he had retired to his fishing boat, seven NATO allies placed a final order for 180 A400Ms. The planes would be built in Spain and would cost just over 100 million euros each. France would get the first plane in 2009.


            Pierson’s prediction that the A400M would hurt Airbus quickly proved right. It wasn’t just the complicated politics behind the plane, but its tangled engineering. Often it was both.

            Most aircraft engineers are reluctant to put a new generation of engine on an all-new plane. They’d prefer to stick with an existing engine to reduce risk. But when Pierson’s successor Noel Forgeard ordered engines off the shelf from Pratt & Whitney UTX.N Canada, European politicians cried foul, accusing Airbus of exporting defense jobs abroad.

            The fight — a parallel of the current row in Washington over the possible purchase of U.S. refueling tankers from Airbus — ended with the formation of a new European engine consortium made up of Britain’s Rolls-Royce RR.L, Snecma (which later merged with Sagem to form France’s Safran SAF.PA, MTU Aero Engines MTXGn.DE of Germany and Spain’s Industria de Turbo Propulsores.

            These firms had spent decades fighting national rivalries. Now they were supposed to cooperate on building the largest and most powerful turbo-prop engine ever seen outside the former Soviet Union. It wasn’t the cheapest or most sensible option, but that didn’t matter. “Politicians could not keep their fingers off the project,” says Nick Witney, ex-chief executive of the European Defense Agency and a former UK defense official.

            Nor could the military. The defense departments of the project members loaded up the A400M with optional extras, making it a juggernaut of conflicting requirements even before it left the drawing board. They wanted its own specially designed crane, ground-hugging capabilities owing more to modern missile technology than an airplane and a futuristic contour-tracking system able to read the landscape like Braille. “Over-ambition is the hallmark of every military project,” says Witney, who is now a senior fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations. But the A400M was in a different league.

            All that, and wrangles over what type of armored vehicles the A400M should carry, pushed up the cost. It didn’t help that the countries behind the plane had locked Airbus into a rigid fixed-price contract. Arms makers normally charge for their costs plus a guaranteed profit. Airbus had a reputation for delivering on time and on budget, so all sides thought the military planners and commercially savvy executives would keep each other in check. How could the continent that built high-speed trains and Ariane rockets fail to build something as apparently simple as a flying truck?


            In fact, the A400M is a surprisingly complex aircraft — and defense deals rarely run to plan. In 2000 — driven by the aim to make Europe’s industries more competitive with those in the United States — French, German and Spanish aerospace interests merged to create EADS EAD.PA. The huge new company now controlled Airbus, which soon became obsessed with a project that matched its global ambitions: the creation of the A380, the world’s largest commercial airliner. In service since 2007, the superjumbo would leave a deep financial mess at Airbus and cost Forgeard his job.

            Unnoticed through a string of management upheavals, the A400M was also slipping silently out of control.

            First, were the software problems. Schooled in secretive defense projects, the engineers had failed to meet the very different civil documentation rules required by EASA. There was little choice but to retrace every step of their work on the complex software. Airbus, the company building the A400M, was horrified by the revelation, as were the three European companies that together with MTU made up the consortium building the plane’s engine. When it failed the EU inspection, “that was the moment we knew something was seriously wrong,” a top executive told Reuters.



          • Causes:
            CASA : Overweight, Spanish project lead was busy hiding that.
            BAE & Hisplano Suiza : : uncertifiable toolset for the FADEC SW
            GE : gearbox ( change of ownership.)

            Britain and Spain were “coalition of the willing” close to the US.
            I do see “helpful sabotage” as a possibility.

            Overweight came to light late in the project. That inflates any effort to fix it massively.
            The FADEC and thus engine delays could be seen as incompetence and should have been avoided.

          • OVO-99:

            Yep, Airbus proposed this and the EU government bought into it.

            No bid contract by the way.

            All you do is confirm what I wrote.

    • > BA should NEVER had agreed to the remote vision tanking requirement! (This is what “whiz bang” tech gets you! Massive headaches, and bad publicity!) >

      Building “massive fail, guaranteed!” into all DoD projects is the American Way. More money will always be shoveled into the failures (LCS, F-35, Ford-class, Zumwalt-class, >>looming B-21 boondoggle-to-come<<, and on and on and on) until *USD money loses its value* (as we're seeing right now).

      "We're Number One!" (just ask us..)

      China must be laughing right now..

      • Bill7:

        They are number 2 and trying harder!

        They certainly are outproducing us.

        The question is, why make that stuff if you don’t plan on using it?

  11. RE article described- referenced by Scott-

    IMHO – sounds like a traditional urination contest into a container while describing the lack of color spectrum of a related container in defense of the Searsdryun virus

    Said container being empty makes the loudest noise.

  12. Lies are par for the course in any walk of life in the US. Oh and in Europe too, before our friends across the Atlantic get too sniffy. But some European panties sure get into a twist. And you just have to laugh out loud at any references to the former President and January 6th. Peddle that irrelevant garbage elsewhere.

    • “And you just have to laugh out loud at any references to the former President and January 6th. Peddle that irrelevant garbage elsewhere.”

      Hit a nerve, huh? Wait – the dentist will get you some novocaine for that and you’ll feel right as rain. Interesting moral compass you have, there…

      • You brought up irrelevant material and were called out on it, but it’s my moral compass at issue. :rolleyes: If Boeing really wants the deal they should put Hunter Biden on the Board. See, I can throw out stupid irrelevant garbage too, although I concede I may not be as adept as you. It does nothing to advance the discussion at hand, but that wasn’t your intent in the first place.

        • Au contraire, mon petit ami;

          You may not believe it to be relevant, but it is so very indicative of the times we live in.

          Your defence to this is “Well, everyone lies, so it’s OK” followed by a case of whataboutism.

          It’s a pity because these unwritten rules, which people used to follow, made the world a better place.

          Maybe you don’t care, which is fine. Some people still do…

  13. > The MAX story is well known. <

    Understatement can be *so* effective at times.


  14. I am amazed that those shills can bang about WTO and airbus illegal subsidies without mentioning even once that Boeing was also found by WTO to be supported by illegal subsidies.

  15. BA finally agreed to an interview by the Seattle Times’ Dominic Gates:

    Hoping for recovery, Boeing bosses look to the future, deflect questions on the MAX crashes

    -> Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO:
    “You do have to reflect on what has happened. Learn from it. We’ve certainly dedicated ourselves to that mission.”

    How did Boeing miss MCAS’s glaring flaws? Have any engineers been held accountable?

    Hyslop: “I’m not gonna answer that question”

    Deal: Boeing seeks to “create a just culture … not a punitive culture”
    “You look at why were the mistakes made, what learning can be taken away.”

    Hyslop: The reorganization at Boeing prompted by the MAX crashes will “strengthen and elevate engineering in the company.”

    Deal: The change creates “a clear line of accountability for engineering. And no risk of this blur of business relative to pure technical excellence.”

    Link to the Seattle Times

    Exclusive interviews with Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Stan Deal and Boeing’s chief engineer Greg Hsylop.

    After almost three years of crisis, with Boeing still facing immense challenges, we talk about the legacy of the MAX crashes and what’s ahead

    • Classic case of the lower management stuck with the upper management stupidity.

  16. Key point for KC-Y will be the USAF requirement. If it is, as for KC-X, just perform as a KC135 at the lowest cost, the KC-46 has a chance. If it is a “best value for money” requirement, there is no doubt the LMXT is better.
    Politicly wise, I m not sure which one will give more money to US workers … but regarding who will pay more to politicians is probably the most important point … sadly.

    • Rdsd:

      While I agree on the legal bribes allowed, Boeing legally bribes with the best of them and tht levels the playing field.

      The LMXMRT-Z1 is going to come in vastly overpriced (Airbus and LM making a profit? Really?) Add in the moving of an assembly line to the US and no way.

      That said, its all in the RFP. Theorize you can put in adders for the more fuel the A330MRT carries (that would have to be a disproportional adder) or the Cargo.

      If its a cost shootout then KC-46A wins hands down.

      The US would be better off if the A330MRT won, it would created more jobs.

      By all rights the 767 fuselage mfg should be moved to the US.

  17. Lots of fudge, waffle, hot air and smokescreening from these guys.
    Anyone surprised?

    • This comment was posted in reply to Pedro’s Seattle Times comment..not sure how it ended up down here.

  18. Lets go back in history- and a sept 2014 article by Scott Hamilton

    It was about an ‘ ambush’ interview of a Boeing manager done by Al-jazeera.

    scrolling thru the comments and background at that time- I found this interesting comment at- near the end/last comment re the ‘old’ boeing and the McBoeing kulture


    ” Using ” moral right ” and Boeing in the same sentence is a oxy-moron, and has been since the90’s.

    Actually it almost disappeared when bill allen stepped down.

    Bill put out the word when the TFX ( F-111) contract was pushed to Generous Dynamics and after being called to testify before congress- with the offer to re-open the contract and have a fly off. He refused the offer- and made certain that any member of management who said ‘ we got screwed re TFX would no longer be an manager and perhaps an employee of Boeing ” ( paraphrased ) ”


    IMHO – GATT 92 ( WTO ) and McBoeing changed all that- NO good deed goes unpunished ..

      • Yea they come up with that stuff with all sorts of massive loopholes to make them look like they are wondrous and doing things and its all a show.

        Germany is closing down Nuke plants but then has to use more coal (or Russian gas though you have to convert the plant).


        • Don’t you think the U.S. also had a finger in it???
          U.S. was a smooth operator then, not anymore.

          • We’re going to need the Russians when we go to war with China! (LOL)

          • Bryce:

            A rare insightful contribution.

            Its also more complex than presented. At one time diesel prices in the US were higher than gasoline (both at the same grade level)

            Why? We make a lot of ULSD and it was being shipped to Europe where the prices is vastly higher. Hmmm.

            While I agree its hypocrisy to buy Russian oil, the reality is the US can shift to internal as we are a net exporter.

            We in fact are being altruist (tongue in cheek) and helping our Canadian friends out with their horrid oil sands stuff (environmentally its a disaster and refining is worse).

            It clearly is a stupid short term allowed but this is deeply political and allowing ULSD to be shipped out when it was driving prices up in the US was insane.

            Clearly we are not above hypocrisyT on the national level.

            That said we are not dependent on that aspect either. Unlike the EU who lets Russia hold the 125mm tank gun to their head.

          • later transworld said ” While I agree its hypocrisy to buy Russian oil, the reality is the US can shift to internal as we are a net exporter.”

            Yes we can- but NOT under the current admin. probably have to wait until 2024-25

          • Bubba2:

            As I recall someone sold out the US for a soccer ball and the hopes to build a tower in Moscow.

            Maybe we should leave it at that? Scott will step in though I would love to0 point out a whole bunch of other things.

      • She is a pawn and apparently the first public move
        from the pro Boeing side.
        In a game with no formal set of rules that introduces precedent in style …

        we saw comparable “out of scope” “staffers” spout
        oppinion pieces. ( counter A380, MRTT, Airbus in general, assassination pieces directed at EU nations like )

    • uhhh you said ” As I recall someone sold out the US for a soccer ball and the hopes to build a tower in Moscow. ”

      Care to provide a credible source other than one paid By perkins Coie ?

  19. While I think this is water under the bridge, what Scott has done is a recent comparison on the issue vs the same Apples to Apples with the A330 was created (frankly Airbus and the A300/A320/A330-340)

    At that time, Boeing was getting no special treatment.

    The EU types can scream and holler all they want, they too benefited from NASA research and Boeing was one of many companies involved in the bids (bid not given) to the Space Program.

    As for the B-52 (though the B-47 was the template) Boeing provided an aircraft for all time that is STILL flying and being upgraded (by RR engines who won a fierce competition )

    EU just handed out those contracts.

    And is the Franken Plane was the worst of all time as it was a direct attack on quality of a safe aircraft that all mfgs have done over all time (anyone ever look at where the A340 came from?)

    • The fact that something is STILL flying doesn’t mean that it isn’t a worn-out fossil.
      Just look at all the planes that are STILL flying in the Iran Air fleet 😏

      • Bryce:

        Maybe its the New Year, maybe its the cold and dark (-11 F) but I am feeling highly entertained by the uninformed comments.

        So, we are buying RR engines for the B-52 but that does not count.

        The KC-135R is a total looser, despite it being updated regularly not to mention the air frame maint program that keeps it 100% structurally sound (list me one KC-135R crash in the last 20 years?)

        Oh and the B-52 is constantly being upgraded as well (aside from them thar RR engines).

        What bomber does the EU have?

        You might want to look over your shoulder and see how many the Russkies have (also upgraded)

        I would think constantly ill informed would bother you. Good thing not, otherwise I would loose my main source of humor.

        • 3 major RC or KC-135 accidents in last 20 years

          may 2013 loss of control after take off from Bishkek

          Another hit by an Ilyushin while taxying at Bishkek, Sept 2006

          April 2015 fire after takeoff at Offut

          The safety record for the 1980-2000 period is not so great, 23 major incidents

          • Incidents are not crashes.

            You might want to look up the CH-53 if you want to see some awful data.

        • @ TW
          The whole concept of a strategic bomber has become defunct.
          The USAF is investing vast sums of money lapping up the relics of yesteryear, while others are spending their money on far more effective weapons of tomorrow.
          It seems a lot of people are stuck back in the 1950s.

          • MAGA is intrisically backwards
            ( but “wagging the dog” 🙂

          • Bryce:

            Well lets see, the Ruskies continue to upgrade the Bear and the Blackjack.

            China is coming out with its own large bomber and mods the old Russian bird they fly.

            You fail to understand how the tactics and armaments have changed.

            Much like an A320NEO, modded to suit the modern needs.

          • @TW

            Trans, this is at least an hour long conversation, over a few cold ones (or a good scotch). Tough to do it in here.

            IMO, the short and dirty version of it – is that Russia and China do JUST ENOUGH to make it seem like they are a huge military threat. They do so, to keep the US spending huge sums on defence and let the military/industrial/congressional complex do it’s thing.

            There is no fighting force in the world, that can defeat the US in conventional warfare. Just ask the Iraqi’s how it worked out for them, especially at the battle of 73 Easting.

            If things go nuclear, we’re all pretty much screwed, so just upkeep the triad and hope that MAD continues to work.

          • @ Frank
            “There is no fighting force in the world, that can defeat the US in conventional warfare”
            Presumably the term “conventional” excludes “guerilla” — remember Vietnam and Afghanistan.

            Otherwise, your initial statement is correct. Russia is spending modest amounts upgrading the weaponry and radar on its bombers — as opposed to spending (at least) $11 billion re-engining them. It doesn’t need them as strategic bombers, because it has strategic subs and hypersonic missiles. However, as tactical bombers, it’s fun to fly regular sorties over the Barents and Norweian seas, just to tease NATO.

          • “There is no fighting force in the world, that can defeat the US in conventional warfare”

            They win all battles but founder in the conflict (re)solution. ( except you assume that leaving festering wounds all over the globe is intentional. I am trending in that direction. )

          • @Bryce and Uwe

            Correct. Guerilla was not included. Neither was nation building.

            Mind you, back in the day, they did do a pretty good job rebuilding Japan and Germany (along with many hardworking Japanese and Germans).

          • Frank:

            Agreed but I suspect a case of cold beers would be gone through.

            Russia: Yea, enough of a threat and a successful one.

            China: Totally disagree, they are like Japan of the late 30s. They want the whole Enchilada and are building the equipment to make it happen. Japan was money restrained (a lot of old Battleships upgraded for instance, ergo, all in on Carriers and the right call if a bad move)

            So far China is not money restrained so far and is cranking stuff out in major numbers. Clearly outstripping the US in tanks, aircraft and ships. How good it all is? Hope we do not find out.

            But you can’t argue the arrogance and chill of someone claiming an entire ocean. US at its worst never did that.

  20. The 767 was the number 1 selling wide body aircraft in 2021. If it is a relic I don’t think the like of FedEx and UPS will be buying in large quantities. All Airbus aircraft was created out of govt largesses. I like companies that can stand on their own. 8 billion subsidy is not the same as 4 billion.

    • Boeing is the up front counter example for your statement.

      Vast amounts of money infused in nefarious ways
      _and not a good product in sight_ .

      GAT92: imu was about accepting certain aids as equivalent
      while prohibbiting direct EU money gifts. “hamstringing”.

      .. and no one in the US seems to have imagined that RLI
      would work as a constructive tool for providing staying power against the Cold War established competition at home.
      ( took them 10..15 years to realize that error )

      You see this quite often:
      international agreements, US moderated, that are designed to strongly advantage the US.
      Only greed and hubris kill the goose before it could ever lay a single golden egg.

    • Cargo operators have a tendency to fly older airframes: no fussy passengers onboard to complain about the noise levels and lack of comfort relative to what the Gulf carriers are offering 😉

      “I like companies that can stand on their own”
      Does that include companies that get preferential treatment in a cooked government tender process, even though they have an inferior product offering?

    • Daveo – “All Airbus aircraft was created out of govt largesses. I like companies that can stand on their own…” Is that why work stopped on the Model 2707 the moment that Uncle Sam withdrew funding?

      • Apples to Apples when the A300/A330 came out, Boeing was getting nothign from the US Government nor Washington State.

        Yes, Boeing realized that the public trough was free and they leveraged that into huge subsides (as well as maintaining their tax dodge)

        Both got where they did as a result of Government, they just used different mechanisms.

        Sadly, Airbus is far more successful than the kill the golden goose management of Boeing these days.

        But yes at one time Boeing developed their own aircraft and Airbus was given money to do so.

        The SST was a different story and that was a national ego thing. It clearly never was going to be a commercial success nor was he Concorde.

    • Well, let’s look at those subsidies, shall we?

      1) Legislature approves tax breaks to secure Boeing 777X

      “With unusual speed, the Legislature on Saturday boosted aerospace-training programs and approved $8.7 billion in tax breaks to try to secure Boeing’s 777X jet.

      But that meets only half of Boeing’s requirements to keep production of the aircraft in Washington state. The company also wants the Machinists union to accept a new eight-year contract with big cuts in future pension and health-care benefits.”

      2) “What the state promised Boeing,” The Seattle Times, January 21, 2004.

      The $3.244 billion subsidy figure includes $3.2 billion in tax credits, a $10 million workforce training center, and $34 million infrastructure investment by the Port of Everett. The main Subsidy Tracker data includes various state tax credit entries for Boeing.

      3) Boeing’s whopping incentives

      State and local governments in Charleston, South Carolina provided $900 million in incentives to Boeing in 2009 to attract an aircraft assembly plant. The components of the package included $306 million over 30 years in property tax abatements from Charleston County; state-issued bonds valued at $399 million; a business personal property tax exemption worth an estimated $100 million; and $33 million in training funds. Boeing was also potentially eligible for tax credits of up to $12,500 tax credit for each additional job created.

      4) Boeing may reap $229 million in new subsidies from Missouri

      “The state of Missouri will hand Boeing $229 million over 18 years if the aerospace giant grows its current St. Louis-area workforce by 2,000 jobs, according to details of the state’s incentive package.

      But the lucrative deal will allow Boeing to pocket millions in state tax money if it just maintains the jobs it already has here. It can even collect some subsidies if some Boeing workers are laid off.”

      5) Stan Diel, “Boeing to get $150 million in breaks,” Birmingham

      The package included a franchise tax exemption worth $48 million over 20 years; a property tax worth $22 million over 10 years; state corporate tax credits worth $25 million to $40 million; plus tens of millions more in infrastructure and training assistance.

      So – what was that about standing on their own? But we already know what your reply will be:


      • Frank et al — no doubt other LNA readers remember this related local newspaper letter re 7E7/787 support:
        Seattle Post-Intelligencer
        Friday, December 26, 2003
        Letters to the Editor – Let Gov. Locke check the math
        Will Gov. Gary Locke please check my math? Let’s run a few numbers. It took $3.2 billion in tax breaks for The Boeing Co. to select Everett as the site for final assembly of the 7E7. But how many Boeing jobs will this generate? I was surprised to learn, according to your Dec. 16 front-page article, that the work on the 7E7 is expected to require only 800 to 1,200 final-assembly positions at the Everett plant. Let’s split the difference and say that it’s 1,000 workers. Let’s assume that they are well paid; say, on average, $100,000 per year ($100,000 times 1,000 workers is $100 million). Wow, still $3.1 billion in tax breaks to account for. According to the Dec. 23 P-I, the $3.2 billion in tax breaks would extend over 20 years. (The useful life of the 7E7 before being replaced by a newer generation of airplane?). Ignoring the effect of inflation for the moment, $100 million per year times 20 years is $2 billion. Wow, still $1.2 billion left. Thursday’s P-I informs us that there will be another $24 million “plan” to “help train the next generation of Boeing workers.”
        The taxpayers of Washington, in effect, are going to be paying the salaries of 7E7 workers for the next 20 years, plus another billion or so (depending on the inflation rate) in tax breaks? Plus $24 million to train Boeing workers? This is adding up to some real money. I wonder if Boeing still complains that Airbus has an unfair competitive advantage because of government subsidies from France and England. Where’s the federal government to help out? And all this is being done for a company whose headquarters is in Chicago?
        What is especially annoying is that I keep reading in the paper that we need to make Washington a “friendly place” for business. How about making it a friendly place for the men, women and children who live here?
        Dan Luchtel

        • The referenced article by Dan L shows only a lack of understanding of costs, salaries, and related.
          Maybe he was one of the newbie power point rangers used by mcmanagement.

  21. Boeing and their talking heads are the “pot calling the kettle black”. After building and selling a product (737 MAX) known by them to be a hazard/death trap and killing over 300 people they have a lot of nerve. I am not sure they should be allowed to bid on the project.

    • TT:

      I pointed that out some time ago. If Boeing was convicted, they would b e allowed to bid on NO government contract.

      That includes the T-7A and the MQ-25.

      That in fact is politics entering into it. Realistically as bad as Boeing is, they do supply crucial equipment to the US defense and that gave way to any justice.

      But tell me the same thing did not happen with Airbus or the Brits and the Saudi Sales?

      The legal system is not about justice, its about stability and the elites.

      Its better than China by leaps and bound but on a scale of 1-10? I give it a 5. China I give about .5 (they do keep the country fed these days)

      What amazing is the EU types raving about China that would lock them up (if lucky) in a heart beat.

  22. This reveals a major aspect of the KC-46A that has not been covered, ie, USAF culpability and failure to manage.

    Having run a lot of contract, anyone who has done that knows you have to hold their feet to the fire.

    So, you have totally incompetent USAF leadership (misnomer) and Boeing management (also misnomer() what could possibly go right?

  23. I would agree with the author of the article that the playing field is indeed slanted in favor of Airbus. Not by government subsidies, but by the fact that Airbus execs are apparently not paid in stock and incentivized to ruin the future of the company to support the stock price of today.
    You want an even playing field? Force Airbus to replace top execs with a crop of ex-GE Welch sycophants compensated with generous stock options. That would fix their wagon.
    Of course, if Airbus were hollowed out Boeing-style it would merely open the door to the Chinese.

    • “Not by government subsidies, but by the fact that Airbus execs are apparently not paid in stock and incentivized to ruin the future of the company to support the stock price of today.”

      In my opinion one of the things that needs to be changed at Boeing. Salaries of executive 80-90% consisting of stock value based bonuses.

      Boeing executives stay make way more than Airbus executives, regardless of results/ performance. .

      Offer Boeing executives high, multi year contracts with fixed salaries. Removing the strong incentive to drain the company short term. Set targets/ bonuses based on long term portfolio strength, operational integrity and value for society. I think the moment comes closer US government will be able to enforce such changes.

      • Uhh keesje ? Why dont you buy 2 to 3 K$ of Boeing stock now, then before next November, put in a shareholder proposal to do just what you are suggesting re executive pay. IF it passes SEC rules and objections by Boeing law firm Perkins-Coie, it will be on next years Annual meeting schedule. And IF it gets a majority of votes, The bored of directionless will be obliged to go and do.

      • Stock incentives do make semse, but only if most of them have to be held long-term.
        E.g. 10% redeemable after a year, 30% after 5 years, 60% after 10 years, 100% after 15 years.

        • I disagree on a number of the Boeing salary (or bribes)

          One, its been proven over and over again, a manager screws up and they still get the stocks. Ergo, no stock to be used for Salary period. Pay the salary, if you want metrics make them wide enough that it includes future product offering.

          No share buy backs. Period.

          Make the Program accounting illegal (which it should be ruled as such anyway as its clearly a tax dodge) – That is based on billions upon billions of stock buy back, share dividend and nothing left for development and no taxes being paid on those profits.

          • Sounds completely reasonable to me. Which is exactly why it’ll never happen.

            (mind you, with that kind of talk – people are gonna start to call you a socialist or something. Bernie Sanders fan…)

          • Frank:

            Thank you. I am certainly far into the Socialist end in many respects. I would have happily voted for Bernie if he had made it to the top (or Liz or Harris).

            I have no issue with EU social polices in fact. The problem is they are hiding behind the US and allowing them to do that.

            Somewhere there is a balance and 1939 can happen again.

            If you red Putins latest demands, its eeerily Germany 1939 – this time if it goes the whole thing goes and it stays gone.

  24. LM is claiming their version of the A330MRT will carry 12 tons more fuel than the existing A330MRT.

    Be it using voids in the existing fuel tank or adding tanks, its nothing Boeing could not do to the 767.

    • The A330MRTT’s tank volume was inherited from the A340 with one variant offering a fuel load of 175 t. The fuel load for MRTT was therefore ristricted by MTOW at 233 t. For recent A330ceo MTOW was raised up to 242 t. MTOW for A330-800 is at 251 t. Difference is 18 t but the engines are quite heavier.

  25. Breaker on the side — some curious/interesting news:

    “Exclusive-U.S. carrier Allegiant Air to buy 50 Boeing 737 MAX jets -sources”

    Allegiant recently replaced its fleet of aging MD fossils by a fleet of mostly secondhand A320s/A319s — and now it’s switching again.
    One has to suspect that these units are very steeply-discounted whitetails.

    • We’ll be able to see when they start getting delivered.

      “This is huge. Allegiant was in line to order the A220,” Leeham Co analyst Scott Hamilton said, adding that the outcome suggested Allegiant had received a “screaming deal” from Boeing as well as the ability to get deliveries more quickly.

      Who’s this Hamilton character??? He seems to be turning up all over the darn place.

        • So my old man, who worked in the industry for decades, was a faithful reader of AW&ST. As a kid growing up, it’s what I read.

          Later on, I got a subscription myself and when there was market news, it seemed the go-to guy for analysis was Richard Aboulafia of the Teal Group. You saw his name everywhere.

          Now, you read articles and you see your name, all over the place.

          Congratulations are in order.

          • Frank — and what non-US sources did you read for balance?

          • Pundit:

            Non US sources are hard to come by. I follow Flight Global and a number of other European on line types like that.

            FG is one of the best for news, sadly they are now limited access and I can’t afford the costs (anymore than I can Leeham, sigh)

            I would be happy for others to put up links that are well done.

            I recently found a Corporal Frisk in Finland that does a good blog on the military side.

          • Mmmhh, not necessarily.
            Have any -7s been canceled recently?
            How many -7s have been manufactured for Chinese/Russian airlines? There still hasn’t been a formal un-grounding in either of those countries (China still has to issue an official AD on the matter).

            The -8200s are, by definition, not whitetails.

          • Hello Bryce,

            Re:”Mmmhh, not necessarily.
            Have any -7s been canceled recently?
            How many -7s have been manufactured for Chinese/Russian airlines? ”

            There are no 737-7 whitetails. Only 7 have come off the assembly line, all destined for Southwest, which has 250 on order. Below is a list of completed 737-7’s according to the web page at the link after the list.

            LN6744 N7201S B737-7 MAX Southwest Airlines Certification Testing Boeing Field

            LN6798 N7202U B737-7 MAX Southwest Airlines Short Term Storage Moses Lake

            LN7455 N7203U B737-7 MAX Southwest Airlines Short Term Storage Moses Lake

            LN7485 N7204U B737-7 MAX Southwest Airlines Pre-Flight Prep Renton

            LN7510 N7205U B737-7 MAX Southwest Airlines Pre-Flight Prep Renton

            LN7545 N7206U B737-7 MAX Southwest Airlines Production Testing Boeing Field

            LN7570 N7207Z B737-7 MAXSouthwest Airlines Production Testing Boeing Field


          • IIRC – the only other airlines taking the Max 7 were SWA and Westjet.

            That being said – the Max 7 isn’t even certified for service yet, is it?

            But I’m thinking that given the way Allegiant runs it op, if there were white tails to be had, they would snap them up. But the 2023 delivery timeframe doesn’t work;

            If I was BA and had Max 7’s sitting with no owner, I’d want them gone ASAP, not sitting for over a year, costing me money. You discount the price so that they move off the lot.

            Funny though – I found this:


            Air Lease Corporation (ALC) has announced long-term lease placements for ten used Airbus A320-200 aircraft with Allegiant. The aircraft are scheduled to deliver to the airline beginning in fall 2021 through Summer 2022.

            “Bringing these ten aircraft into Allegiant’s fleet provides a number of advantages aligned with our unique business model and goals,” said Robert Neal, Allegiant’s Senior Vice President for Corporate Finance and Treasurer. “As young, sharklet-equipped sister ships, they will not only afford efficient induction into our all-Airbus fleet, but will also provide years of utilization beyond the typical life of previously-operated aircraft. This transaction will be a valuable component of our fleet plan for 2022 and beyond.”

            So in 2022 they’re getting 10 A320’s, then they start getting the first of 50 737’s in 2023.

            Going to be an interesting few years of transition. I wonder if they can bail out on this lease arrangement?

      • Re: ““This is huge. Allegiant was in line to order the A220,” Leeham Co analyst Scott Hamilton said, adding that the outcome suggested Allegiant had received a “screaming deal” from Boeing as well as the ability to get deliveries more quickly.”

        Consider also that according to Wikipedia seating capacity on the A220-300 and A319’s is limited to 160 by the emergency exit configuration (2 doors and one overwing exit per side), while the 737-7’s emergency exit configuration (2 doors and 2 overwing exits per side, up from 1 overwing exit per side on the 737-700) allows for up to 172 passengers. For airlines like American, Delta, and United that put 120 to 130 seats on A319/A220-300/737-700 size aircraft, the lower exit limit on the A220-300 would not be an issue; however, for an airline like Allegiant that currently puts 156 seats on its A319’s, and increased seating capacity on its A320’s from 177 to 186 by, among other things, installing smaller lavatories, I suspect that the 737-7’s higher exit limit may have been a deciding factor.

        Exit limit of A220-300 and A319: 160 seats
        Exit Limit of 737-7: 172 seats
        Exit limit of A320neo: 195
        Exit Limit of 737-8-200: 210 seats
        Exit Limit of 737-10: 230
        Exit Limit of A321neo: 244

        Perhaps Allegiant decided it was looking for something larger in terms of seating capacity than an A220? In the Airbus family to match the seating capacity of the 737-8-200, Allegiant would have to go to an A321,for which it would have been unlikely to get heavily discounted prices, and which might have been a bit too large for many of the smaller cities Allegiant serves.

        • Just looking at the Allegiant fleet. Something I don’t understand;

          A319-100 18 Y+ 138Y total 156

          Why would you go with 156 seats? You have to fly at greater than a 96% load factor to fill those final 6 seats over the 150 limit.

          But no matter what, you have to book 4 stews for every flight on the aircraft.

          Wouldn’t it make more sense to just increase the Y+ to 24 or 30 seats, drop the extra row and save 1200 lbs pax weight + seats weight + stew weight + stew salary/training/benefits, plus charge the higher price for the extra premium seats?

          Dunno how accurate this is, but here are their load factors for the past 10 years:

          Anyone else see it the same way?

          • Most of Allegiant revenues comes from on board sales.
            One more FA is one added salesman (saleswoman).

        • Re: ” … seating capacity on the A220-300 and A319’s is limited to 160 by the emergency exit configuration (2 doors and one overwing exit per side),” in my post above.

          I just stumbled across the following. Apparently Allegiant has a high seating density version of the A319 with 2, instead of 1, overwing exits on each side. As far as I can determine, the maximum approved seating for the A319 is still, for some reason, 160 seats.

          “In July 2012, Allegiant announced the future addition of Airbus A319-100 aircraft to its fleet; these formerly belonged to easyJet and Cebu Pacific. All of them were high-density A319s, fitted with four overwing exits, allowing 156 seats.”

    • Allegiant getting an efficient modern MAX fleet from Vegas & Orlando looks like a positive development.

      • Clearly they picked the best possible combo of pax and price and that tends to be true for all the operators.

        Big enough and split fleets work (Sans South West that has its 737 only model of ops)

        AK airlines is all in on MAX as it works for them and their future plans.

        If you need an A321 type, then not so much.

  26. Transworld — “I am surprised France has not accused Finland and Switzerland of treason over Rafale rejection…” You are quite right to be surprised. For long the French mantra has been perceived to be (true or not) that “You are not Euopean if you do not speak, buy, and lfy French, m’sieur”.

    • Never heard of & I was all over Europe all the time. Agree they share some arrogance with other States though.

      I wonder though why Lm & Airbus are going into this battle. Maybe to expose how it really works in Washington?

      Both offerings are basically known. I suspect there’s a big political effort going on already to bend requirements in the right direction. USAF’s own requirements being overruled behind the curtains.

      • keesje:

        That is valid. Once the RFP comes out its going to be clear who the winner is (%99.9 is KC-46A anyway)

        Congress also influences that. Sometimes good and sometimes bad.

        Its quicksand ground as each new USAF secretary undermines that the previous ones direction was.

        As the KC-46A main deck can carry cargo, it can also carry fuel to whatever degree the floor loading and cargo weight would be.

        So if you want a super long range Asian Theater tanker, they can do that and back fit the KC-46A.

        But that means the RFP has to add more fuel carry as an bonus and the bonus has to large enough to overcome price.

        And what weight is commonality given. A330MRT for US would have GE engines and the KC-46A has P&W let alone all the other maint items.

        So yes, there are political aspect of congress, the USAF itself, but the final RFP is a pretty binding document that generaly can’t be argued with.

        The one variance was the USAF violating the KC-X RFP in awarding bonus points that were not in the RFP and got shot down by the independent GAO.

      • > I wonder though why Lm & Airbus are going into this battle. <

        Good question. Their bid can be disqualified at
        any time on National $ecurity grounds anyway;
        why are they bothering?

        The AB adding LM to the slate is likely for political pull (assuming for the moment that they're really trying to win- surely they remember what happened last time?) .

        How's that Boeing KC-46 doin', anyway, eleven years after the contract was awarded? FOD issues solved yet (amongst many others) ?


        • Bill7:

          The LM-XRT is not going to win but they will not be shot down on national security grounds.

          If that were an issue they would not be allowed to win.

          What you and many other posters just don’t get, if its a price shoot out Boeing wins.

          If the USAF values fuel, then they can add a bonus to fuel that overcomes the lower price. But it has to be a big adder.

          I wrong a lot of RFPs. Usually I wrote it so that a specif mfg equipment was all that qualified. Why? Because I knew what worked. Or it worked well enough and matched what we had. Huge help on trouble shooting to have common controls.

          Now a rep could bid anything he wanted and offer us a screaming deal (we will replace the whole thing if it breaks). No, they never did.

          So, wait for the RFP and you will know what direction the USAF has decided to go.

          If you want a good example it was the T-7A. While other offering had better performance (on paper) and there were some percentage of bonus, it was not enough to offset the lower price Boeing/Saab offered and Boeing/SAAB met the base requirements.

          But if you look at the Thrust to weight ratio on the T-7A, it has a Mach 1.5 or so capability which allows it to compete with the latest USAF wish for Squadron Adversarial trainers that allow fewer F-35/22 hours.

          Once the RFP comes out we will know for sure what direction the USAF has decided to go.

          As the KC-46A and the A330MRT are not comparable models, you can only level a playing field with significant bonus points.

          And does the USAF see any A330MRT bonus worth the loss in commonality with the KC-46A fleet?

          Stay tuned

          • A couple of typo’s to correct in the above

            LM/Airbus would not be allowed to bid if they were going to be shot down on National Security grounds. Airbus is well vetted and of course LM is.

            I WROTE a lot of RFPs. The tendency was to write them for known good equipment as well as the benefit of a known controls system which reduced the learning curve for trouble shooting.

            Once the RFP is official, then it is adhered to.

            Once again I will emphasize, the lie that politic overturned the RFP on the previous KC-Y bid is just that, a lie.

            The Independent GAO over turned it on USAF violations being so extreme that it invalidated the bid.

            The GAO has overturned bids BETWEEN US CONTRACTORS as well. It is rare.

            The key metric is the violation has to have affected the contract by so much its been awarded to the wrong company.

            In this case the USAF gave bonus credits that WERE NOT in the RFP and they wavered the wing spacing that WAS in the RFP.

            If the USAF had written into the RFP that more fuel had a bonus, more cargo had a bonus and the wing spacing was allowed to be wavered, then if the bonus was high enough for the combined cargo and fuel, A330MRT would have been upheld (or Boeing would not have protested).

            The process is that the USAF (in this case, it can be any government agency) wrote the RFP, floated the RFP to Airbus and Boeing for comment, adjusted the RFP per the comments and then issued a final RFP.

            At that point Airbus knew it was not getting fuel and cargo credit (no one knew the USAF would waiver the ramp spacing but that was obvious by the lack of it being mentioned).

            Ergo, Boeing knew they had one legitimate bust to appeal on.

            GAO might not have over turned it on that basis alone. That is the judgement area and I suspect it would not have been enough.

            But…………….. USAF violated the other areas and that was more than enough to bust the RFP.

            Boeing no matter how you feel about them had a right under that to appeal and did and it was overturned.

            You may not like it, but that is the process in place and you can work with your congressperson to change it. Not likely.

            Frankly it should be changed such that Airbus did not get 1.5 billion up front when contract was given to them (its paid immediately which is stupid)

            So, Airbus walked away with 1.5 billion for nothing. The USAF can add that to what the KC-Y contract cost the tax payer.

            So yes, we subsidized Airbus anyway.

            The next bid they were playing with OUR money.

  27. I wonder if these last couple decades worth of Boeing CEOs we’re paid by Airbus? Boy, that would explain a lot of things…

  28. One commenter says “the US takes Defense seriously”.

    Yeah- like the genius plan to retire the inexpensive, durable, capable A-10s, and replace them with F-35s
    for *close air support*, at ca. $100 million per plane..

    Serious about defense *spending*, yes; we do as much of it as possible, here in the Exceptional Nation. Oh, an F-35 just had its landing gear fold
    up on landing yesterday- nothing that we can’t
    rectify with more mega-$$$ though..

    what a country.

      • I never did read Heller’s ‘Catch-22’, and should.
        But when you’re living in Catch-22-land every
        day at work, one tends to not want to be reminded..

    • Bill7:

      That would be me of course.

      I am not ignorant of the US procurement issues. I have never seen any country in history have a perfect system and most are lucky to limp along. Put the US in that mix someplace. Better than some, maybe most but if we are rating it on a 1-10, its still a 7 at best.

      The EU is a good region to contrast with as its both population wise and economic wise a pretty close analog to the USA. Call them a 3.

      Look at the number of tankers the EU countries have (mostly if not all NATO). Frankly its pathetic. The US has 400+.

      Ok, the F-35 was virtually a McNamera re-run of the F-111. Hosed up in so many ways (best medium bomber ever, not it was not ever going to be a fighter).

      What you are missing is who shot the program in the foot (actual used a Mini Mac -10 to mill both feet off)

      That was the USMC. They wanted a CAS (they are big on their own Air Force). That in turn lead to, ok, we are going to make a stealth fighter into a VTOL CAS.

      That in turn meant the fuselage shape[e sucks for supersonic flight and vastly shorter range than it should have. Equally it cost huge bucks and it indeed is not and never will be CAS. The claim is you can drop smart stuff and replace CAS with that. Its gun only has 2 seconds of ammo (Navy has their in Pods and I suspect will operate purely in missile mode)

      It can’t dog fight, the gun is a total waste and missiles are good enough. if you follow someone close enough to use a gun, someone else is going to pop a missile up your tailpipe.

      What it has is a fantastic situational awareness system (the F-16 was the best setup of all the fighters in its day). With stealth and knowing where everyone is, you maneuver to stay out of detection range and use the missiles.

      Its started to overcome the LM and contract (USAF strikes again) issue and win on merits of cost and capability.

      Its always going to have range issues which does make the tankers a part of the mix to use it.

      P&W has a vastly upgraded engine ready and you have the adaptive engines though the cost would be enormous to replace and I don’t have the cost or the math ability to do a cost benefit analysis (AP maybe!)

      There was a comment I loved about low rate production total in the US is total produion for UK/Germany or France on any of their fighter programs.

      Anyone that suggest concurrent produion should be shot. That is the core issue with the F-35, Ford Carrier and the so called LCS program.

    • Nice to see a very sober sense of reality coming out of “a certain country”.
      All too often, the attitude seen in that country is denial, posturing and chest-beating.
      The US defense industry/apparatus is seriously dysfunctional, and nobody seems to want to do anything about it. The automatic (and jaded) mantra is “we’re the greatest, and nobody else comes near”.

      Spending a fortune upgrading ancient B52s in the era of hypersonic missiles and air-to-air missiles with a 2000km range? Seriously?

      • Bryce:

        And your country? Tell me how perfect it is. Netherlands is it?

        All countries defense industry are screwed up.

        Read your UK history on its ships build supply debacles. But, they were better than anyone else were they not?

        Now best is maybe 7 out of a 1-10 scale.

        EU I put at a 3.

        So, by comparison, yes we are better and by a lot.

        If we are so unfair then you can quit bidding on US projects. I am happy to see Airbus try as it keeps Boeing honest (and an A330 production line in the US would be a huge bonus, though its not going to happen)

        Have you seen the Russian Turbo Prop Bears? Yea they lurk off your coast all the time. 50s era tech. Put missiles on it and its dangerous.

        So no, a B-52 is not going to penetrate but it sure can unleash a hell of a lot of missiles. And oh by the way, its got a jamming system that is fantastic. You can’t see it you can’t shoot it.

        You don’t seem to realize this is not WWII with the B-17/B-24 flying over Berlin at 25,000 feet.

        And yes, US Air power won that battle at great cost.

        • The difference is that the EU isn’t running around telling everyone how great it is! It’s taking a close look at its defense strategy, and it’s starting to make adjustments.

          This in stark contrast to a “certain other country”, which likes to strut around like a peacock proclaiming how great it is. All the while, the Emperor is stark naked, and bystanders are chuckling at him behind their hands.

          Time for a long, hard look in the mirror.

          • Bryce – ‘a “certain other country”, which likes to strut around like a peacock proclaiming how great it is. All the while, the Emperor is stark naked, and bystanders are chuckling at him behind their hands.’
            Please don’t tar all U.S. citizens with the same brush as you evidently use for the immediately-past president.

          • Bryce:

            Is that funny or what. A sloth is faster than the EU.

            France started looking at its defense strategy in 1939.

            You are familiar with too little too late?

            By the time the EU does anything Putin will have dead 100 years and the EU is a Russian province!

            Enjoy the Borsch and Vodka!.

          • Pundit:

            Do not mistake a country and how it feels with the actors at the head.

            If you look at the last elections, by popular vote the arrogant ones lost.

            Sadly we are saddled with a Constitution tht is a relic of history and some stupid comprises (I would have let the South go and stew in the mud)

            But yes you can thank us for starting Democracy rolling in the EU.

            Sadly, the early adapter usually looses and right now we are in a tough spot.

            So please do no conflate me with an opinion that is not accurate.

            While it was only 5 million votes, if this was a true democracy , we would not have had a man for Number 45 by 5 million votes (and avoided the same only by 7 million votes)

    • A Bit of history re the Military Industrial comples

      When Northrup refused to merge with General Dynamics Fort worth in the late 1940s- the YB -49 flying wing program was cancelled. True it had a yaw problem- and one crashed which resulted in the naming of Edwards air base
      the stage was set for the next 50 years for Northrup to nver really be successful in U.S Military aircraft o fighters for the next 30 years.. Thus the F-5E morphed into the YF-17- ( which Northrup lost to general dynamics F-16 ) then to F-18 ( produced by McDouglas- now Boeing )

      When a company does NOT kiss the ring of the appropriate military guru, bad things happen- as in no contracts of note. Takes a long time to correct/recover.

      Even though Northrup had the very best aero types in the industry !

      Of course 30 plus years later, Northrup did win the B-2 contract with a major updated version of the YB-49, but had to use a Lockheed developed computer program for a lot of the detailed design issues.

      • Bubba2:

        Interesting history write, they did win the B-21 by the way.

        • A bit more of the history- In the early 80’s- AT Boeing- I worked with an engineer who was at Northrup in the 50’s- 60’s. Had an interesting ‘ scrapbook’ put out by northrup re the flying wing. About that time KTLA in los angeles- (Clete Roberts ) had a long tv article about the flying wing and what happened to it. Including an interview with Jack Northrup and some early aerial photos of the 49. low and behold, that was about the same time Northrup got the B2 program. And in 1983 I wound up on the B-2 program for Boeing ( built the major wing and body sections ). At least twice, Northrup people showed the KTLA film to us, and then updated the story. When Northrup got the program- jack was in the hospital and failng fast. So they made a ‘ two foot’ sized model- got special clearance- ( it was a SAR program comparable to the Atom bomb program ) closed off his room, and showed him the model. He passed a few months later. For a variety of reasons to compllex to describe here – Northrup later (1980’s ) and after B2 made public -managed to prohibit any further public showing of the KTLA( PBS) video.

          Sidenote- in the mid 80’s- some Northrup types at the old ford plant in east LA (where Mockup was ) painted a non printable word in Cyrilic on the Roof for the Russian satalitte passing overhead to read.

        • Search on the following re B2

          clipped wings: the death of jack northrop’s flying wing bombers 2017-05-30¢

  29. .. Ford-class Carrier: boondoggle.
    Zumwalt-class ship: boondoggle
    F-35: boondoggle of boondoggles..

    almost like intentional boondoggles are the Plan (good link BTW, Bryce).

    “Serious about Defen$e”


    • The F-35 Crash in South Korea was not a belly flop.

      As of now we know there was a major systems failure that kept the landing gear from extending.

      All other systems kept working (controls and engine) and they were able to foam the runway before the pilot landed.

      Good save and well done to the pilot, he saved the aircraft so they can quickly figure out what went wrong.

      Total gear failure is almost unheard of, there have been some nose gear issue and the Navy had some gear issues.

      It will be fascinating to see what could do that and still let the aircraft function correctly (or adequately)

      • > The F-35 Crash in South Korea was not a belly flop. As of now we know there was a major systems failure that kept the landing gear from extending. <

        What a relief to know that it was a mere "major systems failure", rather than a belly flop !

        Keep digging- you're doing great. 😉


        • Bill7:

          You miss accurate with issues.

          I in no way dismissed the magnitude of it, it was not because the aircraft is hard to fly. In fact it may be the opposite that its resilience in systems allowed it to land despite a massive systems failure.

          The gear is not weak and failed.

          Like the engine issue, something clearly went wrong but it could also be a maint problem.

          We have to wait facts before we know.

      • Bryce:

        Want to talk about the A400 Crash in Spain? Gross stupidity on top of the total hull loss. Reminds me of the Gang That Could Not Shoot Straight.

        At current prices, about the A400 was 3 x the cost in $ loss and the F-35 is in good shape and will be repaired as the systems were resilient enough that they kept flying and put foam down on the runway. Shades of the P-47 of WWII you could shoot to pieces and it still flew (see Robert Johnson)

        Now that is a good Aircraft!

  30. For all those touting the so-called “stealth” of the F35, here’s an eye-opener:

    “Stealthy no more? A German radar vendor says it tracked the F-35 jet in 2018 — from a pony farm”

    The simple and inexpensive technique uses so-called “passive radar”.
    We can be sure that the Chinese and Russians already have this up and running. Iran too, in all likelihood.

    • “Stealth” capabilities have always been grossly oversold. It’s much easier to circumvent than to implement- but its proponents/shills don’t care, as long as the money
      keeps flowing.

      • Bill7:

        That is also wrong. At some point you have to enter the target area which is going to be ring protected with an IAD.

        Equally target penetration going around nodes can then cost you flight time that means you can’t reach the target.

        As I recall, its estimated that an F-35 can get withing 15 miles of an S400 system before its picked up (stealth does not mean invisible, just the F-35 return is the size of a ping pong ball and those are hard to see)

        Not being invisible is why you take out the opposing Air Force first (if you can). Once they see you, you are in trouble or shot down.

        Stealth is an advantage, its not a magic wand.

        One of the other not reported aspects is the sensor system and data gather as well as assembly of a picture that is fed into the F-35 combat system such that it can see the entire threat situation in its ops area.

        The F-22 is not as good in that regard but it is faster and flies higher and it acts like a band director to put the missile birds in position to take out the other guys before they know they are going to get it.

        No single piece of equipment decides a battle (see first use of Tanks WWI) its a system.

        That is why the F/A-18 is too dated, it no longer has the systems to function and its not the best performing fighter out there.

        Decision was made by USAF to replace the F-15 with the F-15EX which is gutted, upgraded, upfueled and has the latest systems in it.

        Its not an F-35 and it cost more, but its available and between the F-35/F-22 and massive missile carry on the F-15EX (and coms to link) it can assist the first two in Air Dominance.

        The Navy tried to put conformal tank on the F/A-18 and it seems the air frame would not take the shock on the structure of carrier landing.

    • Bill7:

      Anyone can build a Mig-15 these days. Early versions were superior altitude to the Sabre.

      At issue is radar, ground missiles and defense systems.

      Simple no longer cuts it. the USAF went into Vietnam with the mindset that it did not matter and the vast majority of the losses were to AAA.

      Ergo, you want a smart weapon you can launch at some distance.

      The Dive Bomber went the way of the Dodo bird as it had a predicable drop line and a simple radar gun would take it out.

      The good old days are gone and yes we have issues with procurement, but a MIG-15 of an F-86 is no more the answer than a P-51 would be.

      Its a touch route to get advanced capability. What we do know its not the specs at issue, concurrent produion is guaranteed to cause huge over runs.

      Boeing managers have convinced the board that they can gut the golden goose and live on, that too is a fallacy but its not the first nor sadly the last time that happens.

      • @TW

        Ahhhhh, the old quantity vs quality discussion. This is another hour long discussion over a good libation. I think it starts with the Sherman tank vs the high quality German tanks that got overwhelmed in WW2.

        Food for thought:

        Modern 5th+6th generation aircraft are expensive things. So are their operators, who require expensive training and constant positive reinforcement. So are missiles.

        Is there a low tech, low cost (read: cheap pilotless drones) answer to high tech gadgetry, that will overwhelm defenses and win the day?

        For instance: could a modern carrier battle group overcome a swarm attack of 1,000 Cessna 150’s, coming in from all directions and all altitudes?

        (I know it’s silly, the 150’s, but at some point there is an amount that would overwhelm defenses. You would run out of missiles and they would get through.)

        Let’s just say, for sake of argument – that the number was 1,000 raiders. Heck, call it 2,000. From a strictly cost perspective point of view; if you could make those drones at $50,000 a pop (you can buy a used 150 for $25k today), you’re looking at $100 million for 2,000 attackers. Double the price, it’s $200 million. Make ’em a little faster for $200k each and it’s $400 million. Longer range and bigger kaboom? Double the price again to $400k for $800 million.

        In 2018, the unit cost of a Ford class carrier was $13 billion (not including aircraft).

        Quantity does sometimes, have a quality all of it’s own…

        • Frank:

          You are not wrong and war games based in the Persian gulf did exactly what you said in overwhelming a task force in there with a boat swarm.

          The issue of course is can you get enough boats coordination etc without revealing that and pull it off?

          As for the much maligned Sherman. It was quality and it was quantity. Only about 1800 US tankers died in WWII. Often 3 to 5 crew bailed out.

          You might want to watch the Chieftains Hatch tank go through on the Panther. It had terrible ergonomics and the gun site was poor vision.

          Its side armor was thin. Worked on the Russian front better with long distances and putting it at an angle. Closer in fighting it was a matter of terrain and tactics. Where the US was on the defense the Panther took a beating.

          The US had the gun to take on the Panther, they failed to supply it with the AP round that could do it (76 mm)

          In the Korean war, 76 mm Easy 8 Sherman’s tore up the T-35-85 the North Koreans had.

          In the end though, its one system vs another not one piece of equipment vs another and the US combined arms system was second to none. It was some painful lessons in lives lost but they were learned.

    • Unfortunately an uniformed layperson assert now Hypersonic when in fact any rocket will deliver a hypersonic warhead (N Korea does have orbital capable missiles as the Russians and Chinese gave them the tech)

      Hypersonic Missile is a specific term that defines as a Mach 5 plus self propelled missile that has the ability to run a yo -you profile (harder to target)

      As a bit of History, the US developed a MANNED Hypersonic aircraft in the 50s (called the X-15).

      North Korea is full of Turkey stuffing in claiming that capability but dupes will buy it.

      China has an HGV. How good it is, no one knows. Put a HGV on any rocket and you have that capability.

      A Hypersonic missile that flies a non ballistic route in the atmosphere is a different story.

      China is also working on a FOBB.

      • BTW- the SR71 is a ” near” hypersonic manned vehicle, and has been around for years.

        AFIK over mach 5 is hypersonic by definition

        Butwhat is the practical diff between mach 4 and mach 5 when trying to whack someone ?

        SR 71 is mach 3 plus I believe

      • > Unfortunately an uniformed layperson assert now Hypersonic <

        Beware of those uniformed [sic?] laypersons- they often get their facts right!


    • Iran has a new fighter.

      Pretty funny to see a guy in a tiny plastic model sitting in it.

  31. Transworld: you’re strawmanning (again).

    I did not suggest building F-86s or MiG-15s
    as alternatives to the absurdly complex and
    nearly useless F-35. An updated F/A-18 or the like might do nicely, though.

    Complexity has its limits, as we’ll *all* be finding out soon enough.

    watch those supply chains.. 😉

    • I agree with strawmanning!
      Someone who repetedly writes Rafael instead of Rafale is not that serious…
      And should analyse why Rafale is sold all over the place…
      Someone who says that A400M is sold at 200M$ is not that serious, and should analyse how Indonesia can afford 10 of these…
      Someone who compares A400M with a Globemaster is not that serious. Can a Globemaster refill helicopters?
      Rafale needed 20 years of evolutions and combat proofing to really take off on world markets.
      A400M needed quite a few years and € to fullfill all its swiss knife missions. It is incredibly versatile and in some years, it will really take off on world markets.

      • Indeed the A400M is by far the most versatile and powerful transporter you can buy. Of course it was billions over costs (not anything like C-17 though..).
        It seems its operators love it.

        • Flying Frog:

          Sorry, I am not into French and the correction is noted.

          Ok, seriously, Indonesia does not have 10 x A400 on order, it has two. Talk about getting facts vs a petty spelling error (grin) wrong! They are talking more but we are talking Indonesia!

          And yes its 200 million a copy and not it will never sell in numbers. A few here and there. C-130 continues to sell well.

          Yes the Rafale (did I get that write?) work its way into a viable fighter and I guess the French finally came down in price and its selling well. Hats off to Dassault (sp?) – like the Mirage 3 its a winner by modern standards.

          And yes, the A400 cost more than the C-17 which is why it sells for the same price the C-17 did.

          But for most ops, and certainly US type, C-17 and C-130 combo works far better.

          Airbus tried to split the difference and like so many compromises, its not a home run.

          I have watched the screaming and hollering and Airbus demanding to be let off the hook they set themselves and the buyers letting them off the hook (Airbus was going to stop making it)

          That sounds a lot like the US!

  32. @ Scott
    Is there a timeline for completion of the Bridge Tanker bidding/awarding process?
    Will it be completed just in time for the next Administration to reverse the result, if necessary? 😉

      • @ Scott
        Thank you very much!
        As a courtesy to the other readers:

        “The Air Force already is in the early stages of the procurement process. A contract will be awarded in 2023, under the current timeline. First flight testing is targeted for 2027. Fully functioning tankers will be delivered in 2029, under the planning in place now.”

        So, the contract award in 2023 will fall between the coming US midterms (2022) and the next US presidential election (2024). With the GOP currently projected to take control of the HoR in the midterms, a win by LM/AB will probably be heavily impeded/contested at a political level.

        Please don’t view this as a political post: it’s relevant to consider the administrative backdrop against which the contract process will play out.

        • Bryce:

          Where the political level takes place is the Congress approving funds.

          The USAF has to bring a plan to them and they then pass said plan. The USAF has huge management incompetence issue that is as bad as Boeing.

          Once the plan is funded, then the deal is adhered to.

          The previous failure was not political, the non political GAO ruled the USAF violated the RFP.

          If the RFP is a current duplicate, Boeing wins.

          If, they put in enough bonus for fuel carry, then the battle is on.

          In this budget situation, the 95% solution will win.

          The KC-46A is a damned good deal.

          There actually is a provision to extend the existing deals if its deemed good and has been done on some major projects.

          I have no idea what the USAF is thinking, but then each time the Secretary Changes there is a huge change in the strategic and equipment. Its nuts but we are stuck with it.

  33. Frank’s comment has not yet appeared here, but in the 80s when we were about to spend billions on another
    MIC boondoggle (a new Tank™, in that dismal case), I proposed instead giving every Western soldier in Europe a new Cadillac, USD $10,000, a hooker, and a few fifths of Bushmills. That’d win a war in a heartbeat, but the sadly wouldn’t cost enough to satisfy the PTB.. plus
    it’d empower the proles (can’t have that!) .

  34. Frank — “Boeing uses program accounting to smooth costs of the program over a projected block of sales.” So it doesn’t make a nickel on the entire production run of any program by that theory, then – yes?

    • Well, this is the way they put it:

      If at the end of the accounting block, there is still a balance remaining, then the program will have to take a write off. The company can also take a reach forward loss (like they did with the 777X) if they determine that those expenses will not be covered during the production run.

      (I swore I was leaving all of this behind, when I left the ratrace, but…)

      Here is an explanation from CPA Journal:

      “By March 31, 2015, Boeing had deferred a total of $28.7 billion of construction costs, of which $26.9 billion related to the 787 program. Thus, on average, each of the 258 planes built and sold as of March 31, 2015, added $104.4 million to the deferred costs, leaving 1,042 planes to absorb $26.9 billion in additional construction costs (Boeing Form 10-Q for the quarter ended March 31, 2015). The list price for a 787 is $218.3 million; however, customary discounts of up to 50% can reduce the sales price to approximately $109 billion (Jon Ostrower, “Boeing Struggles to Find Buyers for Early Version Dreamliners,” Aug. 29, 2014, Wall Street Journal, Assuming an average sales price of $125 million per plane, Boeing would need to recover $25.9 million of deferred costs per 787 plane remaining to be built. It is interesting to note that Boeing’s gross profit margin from product sales was 15.1%, 14.6% and 15.4% for 2014, 2013 and 2012, respectively (Boeing 2014 Form 10-K). Therefore, Boeing would need to lower its construction costs on the remaining 1,042 planes to an average of $80.4 million per plane to recover deferred construction costs and maintain a 15% gross profit margin on the sale of each of these planes.”

      Now, Boeing has 488 orders (411 after ASC 606 rules)

      to try to zero the deferred production balance. They’ve built and sold ~1000 and IIRC the accounting block is 1500. It’s not looking good…

      It’s kind of a shell game. You hope that other programs can cover losses on money losers and if not, you go to market to borrow (to the tune of $60 billion in LTD) to keep the lights on and the place heated.

      Eventually though…if you don’t have a star that makes money and covers things, it catches up with you. You just don’t want to be one of the bagholders when this happens.

      • Frank, you can explain it day and night, and even standing on your head, but the penny just won’t drop where some people are concerned. Maybe technical people aren’t that good at grasping financial matters…who knows? It may have something to do with an inability to understand the difference between revenue and earnings.

        Not only will BA never make a nickel on the 787 program — it also won’t ever make a nickel on the 737MAX or 777X programs, for the same reasons.

        It’s borrowing from the future to try and meet the bills of today — all the while hoping that it might be able to generate some future earnings from a defense or space project…or that Uncle Sam will step in with a bailout. A new clean-sheet commercial aviation product is too far down the line to be of assistance — and that, too, may fail to generate any program earnings.

    • Let me add this, just to be fair:

      If used properly, program accounting can be quite useful, when you think about it.

      Let’s say you spend $10 billion, up front, on any product – that will be sold over the long term. If you use regular old accrual accounting methods, in year 1 (if you spend it all then, as an example) and have no sales – you show a loss of $10 billion. But at end, your product is making a killing (assuming you survive) because you’ve already expensed your development costs in the early years.

      But, since the C-suite boys get paid on company performance, it means they would have to hang around some 10-15 years to see the fruits of their labour…

      …no one wants to do that.

      So, the rules allow them to do some estimating and cost smoothing.

      You estimate that you’ll sell some 1,500 units of what you have developed. You also estimate that you’ll make a margin (as BA did) of 15% on each sale (which I think is the number they used), so in the early years, even though you’ve spent a fortune, you book a 15% margin on each delivery.

      But after the margin, you have all kinds of other costs, which get muddled in with the calculation. Only BA knows exactly what the position of the program is and if it LOOKS like things are going bad, they are supposed to tell everyone in a filing and book a charge. There is a huge amount of gray area here, because it involves estimation and changes in the market.

      BA could never foresee the battery fire, the 737 Max grounding or changes in the marketplace, which determine whether a program would be profitable, or not.

      But here to, it opens the door for some fancy accounting footwork, which can lead to making things look better than they actually are, so you can benefit by burying things. Essentially, you can kick the can down the road, so today you can cash in.

      IIRC BA did this a few years ago when they took a few test aircraft and rolled their expenses into the deferred production balance instead of expensing them in the same period – and saved a couple of billion in expenses from falling on the IS, which made things look rosy. The rules allowed them to do it, so they took advantage and profited from it.

      It’s all fun and games, until the music stops…I hope this helps

      • Frank:

        Don’t forget the tax dodge to they can do share buy back and pay dividends on the non profits.

        Or the announcement they were going to borrow 30 billion so they could pay a dividend ! (publicly raveled and embarrassed so they did not as they were looking to borrow government money)

      • It could provide for a good situational explanation layer. But does not fullfill basic reporting metrics.
        But don’t forget that it munges real numbers with far reaching projections.
        It hides deviations from up front planning.
        Unexpectedly escalate cost 2,3,4 fold and the only thing visible is a strong excursion in the deferred cost basket.
        i.e. GAAP DPA derived reporting shew apparent profits when the real situation was much more negative. ( reflected in IFRS numbers that Boeing was forced to provide but put down as “nonGAAP” 🙂

  35. TransWorld — “…you can thank us for starting Democracy rolling in the EU..” Us? Are you speaking for the Mother of Parliaments, then?

    • The Marshal Plan was a pretty nifty instrument to
      A: create demand for US industrial output.
      B: suck some more money and cheap resources from Europe ( allies or not )

      3: IMU the Brits had much more positive influence on German democratic structures. ( GIs brought cigs, gum and illegitimate kids )

      4: having majorly pissed off ( and betrayed ) the SU, their former Allie, doing the “friends thing” with Germany was a must.

      5: during WWII the US was carefully avoiding fatalities on their side ( absolutely lowest numbers compared to all other allied participants. )

      • Scott:

        Can we address all that? While it is the worst of the Anti Americanism showing up here its far from the only.

        • Hilarious, coming from you!
          What about your continual anti-EU ranting? And anti-China tirrades?

          Do you ever look at what you spew out in your comments?
          Structureless, uninformed, out-dated, irrelevant information…all wrapped up into an incongruent avalanche of jumbled syntax.
          And you want Scott to address what *others* post?

    • “TransWorld — “…you can thank us for starting Democracy rolling in the EU..” Us? Are you speaking for the Mother of Parliaments, then?”

      I am thinking that the UK had a King as did all the other countries of Europe other than France who wound up with a Dictator (is there a difference).

      The French revolution unlike the US went wrong and they wound up with Napoleon (as did Europe)

      And the US voting was reserved to those with property or money, which has evolved over the years to Women getting the vote as well as all people including those of color.

      All the EU countries that are democracies are inheritors of the US example. The Brits and kings did their best to snuff it.

      The EU and NATO still has dictators and near dictators.

      We of course tried to do that and may well yet. T

  36. UWE, and others: Tone back the rhetoric and nationalism.


    • Scott:

      Uwe has made a number of assertions and I believe that I should be allowed to refute them.

      Or they should be removed and removed each time he goes there.

      Either way is fine and fair, to leave them stand as is, not. But I will not reply or respond unless given the ok.

    • Bryce:

      You are aware that the article is 6-7 months out of date?

      Sorry to tell you (well not really) I do pay attention to those details.

      Keep swinging. Good thing the version of baseball you play allows 20 swings before an out. Or is that Cricket?

      • Yes, TW, I am.
        Now, unless you can find an article that details how any of those Cat I deficiencies have been fixed in the meantime, the article remains valid, doesn’t it?
        2023 is still 2023…whether looked at today or last July.

        • Right Mel, next thing is articles out of WWII on how awful the Sherman tank (that won the war) was.

          You are aware times move on?

          Phew, my floor is taking a beating (ROFL)

          • “You are aware times move on?”

            Times move on…but not for the KC-46. It’s not going to have a fixed boom for (at least) another 2 years, and it still continues to generate new Cat I failures.
            A prayer without end…

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