It looks like I won't be voting this November. There is no way I will vote for Hillary (please!) or Obama so McCain had my vote by default. Now that won't happen.
Boeing Aircraft lost it's bid to build the new refueling tanker for the Air Force yesterday to Airbus. Airbus is a non-American company. Boeing had this deal in their back pocket until McCain opened his big pie hole a few years ago and questioned a bunch of things.
Needless to say what he wanted checked out didn't pan out. Now the big announcement comes down and Airbus wins the deal. Unfreaking believeable. Obviously this news is the talk of the town. The jobs lost (actually not gained) will have a big impact on the local economy.
Below is the story from the local newpaper. You will see Spirit Aerosystems mentioned where both my wife and I work. I know this is kind of personal story because we are both directly affected by this. But the underlying theme is that the new tankers our Air Force will get are mostly being built in France. Give me a huge break.
Posted on Sat, Mar. 01, 2008
Boeing tanker loss leads to anger, disbelief
BY MOLLY MCMILLIN
The Wichita Eagle The U.S. Air Force chose a Northrop Grumman/European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co. team for a $35 billion contract to replace its aging fleet of refueling tankers, dealing a blow to Boeing and the Kansas economy.
The contract will supply the Air Force with 179 tankers, which will be called the KC-45A. It's one of the largest defense contracts in history.
The decision, announced Friday afternoon at the Pentagon, caused surprise and outrage.
"I am deeply troubled by the Air Force's decision to award the... tanker to a French company that has never built a tanker in its history," U.S. Rep. Todd Tiahrt, R-Goddard, said in a statement. "I cannot believe that we would create French jobs in place of Kansas jobs."
EADS is the parent company of Airbus, Boeing's chief rival. Airbus is based in Toulouse, France.
A win by Boeing would have meant jobs at its Wichita plant. It also would have meant work for suppliers locally and around the state.
Boeing officials said they are still deciding whether to appeal the decision.
The tanker is the top procurement priority for the Air Force, said Gen. Duncan McNabb, Air Force vice chief of staff.
It will "give the Air Force true global vigilance, reach and power," McNabb said.
Boeing has supplied tankers to the Air Force for almost 50 years and was favored to win the contract.
"We believe that we offered the Air Force the best value and lowest risk tanker for its mission," Boeing said in a statement.
The contract is the first of three that are potentially worth $100 billion over 30 years to replace the Air Force's fleet of about 600 tankers.
Impact on Wichita
A Boeing win was expected to bring 300 to 500 jobs to its Wichita facility, which would have been a finishing and test center for the tankers.
It also was expected to bring 500 jobs to local suppliers, including Spirit AeroSystems
, where workers build the 767's forward section. Boeing's proposed tanker was to be built on the 767 platform.
In all, it would have meant up to 3,800 Kansas jobs and $145 million a year economic impact, U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and Tiahrt said last month.
Boeing said the contract would have meant 44,000 new and existing jobs at the company and with 300 suppliers in more than 40 states.
"They don't come along at this scale very often," Northrop Grumman chairman and chief executive Ronald Sugar said of the contract. "We do see this as being a very important component of our business for many years to come."
The winning tanker
The team of Northrop Grumman and the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co. offered a tanker that best met the Air Force's criteria, said Sue Payton, the Air Force's assistant secretary for acquisition in Washington.
The winner was based on five factors: mission capability, proposal risk, past performance, cost-price and aerial refueling abilities, Payton said.
She declined to say where Boeing fell short until after Air Force officials meet with Boeing officials in a debriefing sometime around March 12.
The Northrop Grumman/EADS team offered the KC-30, an aircraft based on the Airbus A330 commercial airliner. It is larger than Boeing's KC-767 tanker, a modified Boeing 767-200 commercial airliner.
"I am extremely surprised at this outcome," said Lexington Institute defense analyst Loren Thompson.
With the larger plane, "it means the Air Force was willing to completely rethink the way in which it did the mission in order to accommodate the potential of using a much bigger plane."
The decision spurred an outcry from Kansas' Congressional delegation and from state and city officials.
Roberts said he will insist on a briefing by the Air Force to justify its decision.
"If this decision holds, it will be at the cost of American jobs and American dollars, if not our national security," Roberts said in a statement.
U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., expects Boeing to protest and Congress to take a hard look at the selection process and the criteria.
"I hope the decision will be reversed," Brownback said.
Gov. Kathleen Sebelius said Boeing's tanker was the better choice. She said it provided a combination of military capabilities and economic benefit to 40 states.
"We are incredibly disappointed and surprised Boeing was not selected," she said.
Word of the decision arrived during a Wichita City Council agenda session, leaving Mayor Carl Brewer muttering and shaking his head and other council members talking about an "explosion in Congress."
"How are they going to justify this to the American people?" Vice Mayor Sharon Fearey asked, later calling the decision "an affront to the American people."
Joy in Mobile
The KC-45A tanker will carry more passengers, cargo, fuel to offload and, in a secondary role, patients in air medical missions, Air Force officials said.
Creation of U.S. jobs was not a factor influencing the decision, Payton said. Instead, it was based on what is best for the taxpayer and on performance, she said.
The decision also was not influenced, she said, by a scandal in 2003 that derailed an earlier tanker contract with Boeing after a top Air Force official involved in negotiations met with a Boeing executive about a job at the company.
"We've got it nailed," Payton said. "I don't see any relationship to what has gone on at all."
The Northrop Grumman/EADS team plans to perform its final assembly work in Mobile, Ala., although the major sections of the plane would mostly be built in Europe.
Northrop Grumman, which is based in Los Angeles, estimates the win will produce 2,000 new jobs in Mobile and support 25,000 jobs at suppliers nationwide.
"I've never seen anything excite the people of Mobile like this competition," Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., said. "We're talking about billions of dollars over many years so this is just a huge announcement."
Contributing: Bill Wilson of The Eagle, Bloomberg News and Associated Press.
Reach Molly McMillin at 316-269-6708 or firstname.lastname@example.org
© 2007 Wichita Eagle and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved. http://www.kansas.com