Steve Trimble of Flight International has this bizarre piece. It’s about the Joint Cargo Aircraft, the C27J, which is being acquired by the Army and the US Air Force. It turns out the Army is paying half that of the Air Force.
As an aside, this is an Italian airplane made by Alenia (the same company involved in the Boeing 787 program). This European company partnered with a US company to make the big to the Pentagon. This sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
The US company partner is–Boeing.
This story by Dominic Gates of The Seattle Times paints a grim picture for Boeing’s Integrated Defense Systems. He points out that IDS “can’t boast even a single prime contract to supply the US military’s next generation of fighters, bombers, tankers and transport planes.”
Here’s an article from Aviation Week discussing China’s plans to build a plane that directly targets the Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 lines and another in The Australian about the engine competition between GE and Rolls-Royce that’s developed concurrently with the rivalry between Airbus and Boeing.
Here is the Boeing GAO Supplmental Filing of Boeing’s tanker protest.
Update: 1000AM PDT: Boeing just wrapped up a conference call discussing the supplemental filing. The call largely went over the filing, and the Q&A was largely expansive on the filing. Read the filing and you’ll get the gist of the call.
A couple of points of interest:
Boeing expects to have a transcript of the call available later, as well as an audio archive. We’ve asked for the transcript when available and will post it here. The audio archive will be posted at Boeing’s Tanker Blog.
We’ll link select articles as they pop up on the Internet.
Update, April 4, 0730AM PDT: A few articles of interest:
Jed Babbin, former deputy undersecretary of defense for Bush 41, writes another well-reasoned piece on the tanker; he’s a pro-Boeing advocate and he, like his previous writing we linked, does a good job of avoiding histrionics.
Aviation Week’s Amy Butler does another in a series of fine reporting. Her piece is here.
George Talbot, reporting from Boeing’s “enemy territory,” The Mobile (AL) Press-Register, does his usual good reporting with this piece.
Meanwhile, in the Internet website wars, Northrop has launched a new site, America’s New Tanker. This serves as another effort by NGC to rebut Boeing’s PR campaign.
Update 0945AM PDT: Here’s another opinion piece, this one in support of the KC-30, from DefenseTech.org.
From The Wall Street Journal:
The Government Accountability Office denied motions filed by Northrop Grumman Corp. and the Air Force to dismiss parts of Boeing Co. protest of a $40 billion contract to provide aerial refueling jets.
Both companies characterized the developments as victories.
“Boeing’s decision to abandon the public relations rhetoric contained in its original protest filings is in keeping with our motion,” said Northrop spokesman Randy Belote in a statement. Northrop also said that it was encouraged that Boeing “streamlined” its approach.
“This decision is consistent with our view that full consideration of all appeal grounds is warranted,” Boeing said in a statement, calling it a “significant development” in the company’s appeal.
The full article is here.
Update, 400PM: We’ve obtained the redacted copy of the USAF Motion to Dismiss Boeing’s protest (which the GAO has now denied–the Motion to Dismiss, that is). The 49 page PDF provides extremely interesting reading in the dynamics between Boeing and the Air Force.
Update 740PM: Boeing says it did not narrow its protest, and claims this is only Northrop’s “spin.” Here’s a Reuters story.
Our Corporate Website has been updated with in-depth commentary. This week we write about eco-aviation and of technology transfer to Japan and the Boeing 787.
We quickly received a note from Lynn Lunsford of The Wall Street Journal on the latter subject. We cited a Forbes story in our comment–Lynn points out Forbes picked up the item from his piece on March 27. The relevant except is below:
In what could prove to be an important alliance, Mitsubishi Heavy has persuaded Boeing to participate in the program by working with it to adapt elements of the same carbon-fiber composite technology being used in Boeing‘s new 787 Dreamliner. Mitsubishi Heavy and two other Japanese companies are major financial partners with Boeing on the bigger jet, so they already have experience with these materials. By incorporating composite materials that don’t corrode or fatigue with age, Japanese officials hope to differentiate their product from those of competitors that rely largely on aluminum.
Mitsubishi Heavy and Japanese government officials had hoped that Boeing would sign on as a significant investor in the project, but the Chicago aerospace company declined, saying it needed to stay focused on getting its delayed Dreamliner out of the door. “We will participate in a limited way. Discussions are under way to determine exactly what will be of most value to the program,” said a Boeing executive familiar with the talks.
Here are some new developments on the continuing USAF tanker saga:
Boeing today (March 28) acquired the Vought share of Global Aeronautica, giving the 787 manufacturer a 50% stake in the company.
The plant in Charleston (SC) has been one of the key trouble spots in the 787 program. Flightblogger’s Jon Ostrower reported the probable move way back in December.
This is a good move for Boeing in straightening out the program. Although it’s unclear today just how much of the 787 production problems continue to originate at Charleston, the 787 production system still is under major stress. The world waits for Boeing’s program update–the internal assessment continues–and the date for the program update, thought by some to be next week, by some the following week, remains unscheduled and unconfirmed.
Is the buyout related to the recent news about redesign of the center wing box? The answer, in our opinion, is “no.” Charleston isn’t responsible for the wing box; the Japanese are. Furthermore, we’re told from inside Boeing that the wing box issue was old news (at least one Wall Street analyst says the same thing) and that the redesign occurred quite some time ago for the first six airplanes (or seven, depending on who’s talking).
What made it news is that Boeing didn’t tell anyone and with its in-the-bunker mentality since things went south on the production schedule (a phrase used both inside and outside of Boeing), not being forthcoming, the statement by ILFC CEO Steven Udvar-Hazy that Boeing had to redesign the wing box became news for a news-hungry media.
Even within Boeing, there is complaint that Boeing isn’t forthcoming and therefore winds up de facto letting others reveal problems.
But we digress. Today’s news is tangible evidence that Boeing is taking back control of its own destiny. It’s a major step, it’s not the first and it won’t be the last. But for all interested parties, it’s certainly the right step.