Pontifications: Biden’s new “Buy American” policy may hit Lockheed Martin-Airbus plans to compete in KC-Y tanker bid

By Scott Hamilton

Aug. 2, 2021, © Leeham News: A move by the Biden Administration may have unintended consequences in the KC-Y Bridge Tanker procurement by the US Air Force.

The Bridge Tanker is the Air Force’s second round to replace the aging Boeing KC-135 fleet. Between 140-160 airplanes will be purchased under KC-Y. The Air Force awarded a contract to Boeing in the previous KC-X procurement for 179 tankers based on the 767-200ER platform.

President Joe Biden announced last week that the US will adopt a rule under its Buy American policy that American content must be increased from 55% to 60% immediately and ultimately 75%.

If adopted, the rule appears to all but preclude an expected proposal by a partnership between Lockheed Martin and Airbus (LMA) to offer the KC-330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT). This is based on the A330-200 platform.

Lockheed Martin did not respond to a request for comment.

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HOTR: USAF prepares for new tanker competition, pitting Lockheed Martin/Airbus and Boeing against each other

By the Leeham News Team

June 22, 2021, © Leeham News: The US Air Force appears to be preparing a new round of competition for the next phase of its aerial refueling tanker recapitalization.

The first, KC-X, took more than 10 years to award a contract that didn’t get overturned. Boeing initially was awarded a lease deal in 2001 that was canceled in the wake of a scandal that sent two Boeing officers to jail and led to the resignation of CEO Phil Condit.

Round two pitted Boeing against Northrop Grumman and EADS, which was the name of the parent of Airbus’ commercial unit. Northrop won, but this award was overturned when USAF improprieties were revealed in the debriefing.

Round three pitted Boeing against EADS alone after Northrop bowed out. Boeing won this contract with a price 10% below EADS, which didn’t contest the decision. Boeing since has written off about $5bn on the KC-46A tanker, which still doesn’t work as required and which was delivered nearly two years late.

Related stories:

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Pontifications: Airbus-the First 50 Years

Book Review

By Scott Hamilton

July 8, 2019, © Leeham News: When a company authorizes or sponsors a book about some major event, the book is usually a puff piece meant for the coffee table in reception.

Airbus authorized the book, Airbus: The First 50 Years, but it’s no puff piece. It’s an honest, candid accounting of how the company came to be, navigating through country and corporate politics, face offs with rival Boeing, reporting the insider trading allegations and ending with the as-yet unfinished corruption scandal investigations.

Nicola Clark, the aerospace reporter for the International Herald Tribune, did a superb job up to her usual reporting standards while avoiding the puff pieces that usually come with an authorized book.

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Pontifications: 737 MAX events remind of Lockheed Electra story

By Scott Hamilton

March 18, 2019, © Leeham News: There’s a saying that history repeats itself.

When it comes to the crisis of the Boeing 737 MAX, I’m reminded of the crisis Lockheed faced in 1959-1960 when the Electra propjet crashed in September and the following March, killing all aboard both airplanes.

The Electra entered service Jan. 12, 1959, with Eastern Airlines. It was considered a pilot’s airplane. Coming off decades of piston engine aircraft and early in the jet age, the Electra was the only airplane that was over-powered, piston or jet. Timing, however, was poor and crashes soon overtook the euphoria.

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Pontifications: Which airplanes are revolutionary or evolutionary?

By Scott Hamilton

Feb. 18, 2019, © Leeham News: Last week’s column about the revolutionary Boeing 747 prompted some Twitter interaction asking what other commercial airplanes might be considered “revolutionary.”

I have my views. Let’s ask readers.

There are also three polls below the jump in addition to the usual comment section. Polling is open for one week.

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Pontifications: The 747 revolutionized air travel

By Scott Hamilton

Feb. 11, 2019, © Leeham News: Few airplanes truly can be called revolutionary. Most are evolutionary.

The Boeing 747 was one of those that falls into the former category.

Just as the Boeing 707 revolutionized air travel, so did the 747.

The spaciousness and, after a period of engine difficulties, the economics put the 747 into a class by itself.

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Boeing’s P8 hits six years in service

The object below the APU outlet is one of many sensors on the Boeing P8-A Poseidon. Source: Scott Hamilton

July 18, 2018 © Leeham News, Farnborough: Boeing’s P8-A Poseidon, the 737-based airplane best known for anti-submarine patrols, entered service with the US Navy six years ago.

Since then, Australia, New Zealand, the UK and Norway are among the countries ordering the airplane and the first Navy P8 entered heavy maintenance here.

Boeing produces the P8 at a 1.5/mo rate, which is full rate.

The Navy ordered 117 P8s, but there is potential to order more.

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Pontifications: Photo essay

By Scott Hamilton

June 11, 2018, (c) Leeham News: In a change of pace, here are a number of photos gathered from recent visits to museums in the US and Canada.

Lockheed L-1049 Constellation of the Airline History Museum of Kansas City Downtown Airport, Photo by Scott Hamilton.

The Lockheed L-1049 Constellation of the Airline History Museum in Kansas City is labeled the Super G, but it actually is an H model, delivered as a passenger/freighter. It was restored to G markings in TWA colors. The airplane was airworthy until 2007, when an engine fire prompted the museum to park the airplane. AHM hopes to restore the airplane to flying operation.

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The Supersonic dilemma

By Bjorn Fehrm

December 20, 2017, ©. Leeham Co: The Super Sonic Transport (SST) has a new spring. Aerion announced its new partner Lockheed Martin Friday and Boom got a new investor in Japan Airlines (JAL) the week before.

The design of a supersonic transport aircraft is exciting and difficult. Yet it isn’t the key challenge. The engine is.

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Suppliers conference in Mobile focuses on US aerospace sector in Southeast

Click on image for an enlarged, crisp view.

Oct. 31, 2017: A new event, the Southeast Aerospace and Defence Conference (SADC) scheduled for June 25-27 in Mobile (AL), will examine the commercial, defense, space and corporate aerospace sectors in the US Southeast.

The conference is organized by Airfinance Journal and Leeham Co., the first joint venture between the two companies.

The US Southeast is a growing aerospace center. Defense and space clusters have decades-long histories in the Southeast. Corporate and commercial clusters are more recent developments, albeit in some cases now well within a second decade.

Airbus’ A320 family Final Assembly Line in Mobile opened in September 2015. The FAL is producing 3.5 A320s per month and will reach its initial target of 4/mo by year end, slightly ahead of schedule. There is land capacity to expand to 8/mo.

Earlier this month, Airbus and Bombardier announced that their new venture will establish an FAL in Mobile.

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