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Victory for Boeing

Discussion in 'Political Zone' started by big dog cowboy, Jun 19, 2008.

  1. big dog cowboy

    big dog cowboy THE BIG DOG Staff Member

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    No rants from me this time. Everyone is very happy. You may recall the Air Force awarded the contract to build the new Tankers to Airbus on Feb. 29th. Boeing protested and after the 100 day review, the GAO made their ruling yesterday.........

    Posted on Thu, Jun. 19, 2008
    Victory for Boeing

    Roberts: Tanker ruling 'a great day for Wichita'


    McClatchy Newspapers In a major victory for Boeing, the Government Accountability Office said Wednesday that the Air Force made "significant errors" in awarding a $35 billion tanker contract and should reopen the competition.

    The ruling means Boeing probably will get another shot at the contract, which was awarded in February to a team of Northrop Grumman and the parent company of Boeing's chief rival, Airbus.

    "Our review of the record led us to conclude that the Air Force had made a number of significant errors that could have affected the outcome of what was a close competition between Boeing and Northrop Grumman," the GAO said. "We therefore sustain the Boeing protest."

    The decision was good news for Wichita. Boeing had announced that if it won the contract, it would do finishing work on the tankers here.

    That was expected to create 300 to 500 jobs at Boeing Wichita and more than 1,000 tanker-related jobs when suppliers and other sources in the Wichita area were included.

    The Air Force has 60 days to respond to the GAO recommendations, which are not binding. But Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., said Congress will act if the Air Force ignores the recommendations.

    Roberts said he will introduce legislation in the Senate and Rep. Todd Tiahrt, R-Goddard, will introduce a similar bill in the House to force the Air Force to reopen bidding on the contract.

    "I have been chairman of three different committees during my time in Congress and I have never seen a GAO report so aggressive, so declarative," Roberts said. "All seven of their basic complaints were the same thing we've been saying. This is vindication. And this is a great day for Wichita."

    Aerospace analyst Richard Aboulafia said the decision took him by surprise.
    "I've never seen anything like this, and I didn't see it coming," said Aboulafia, of the Teal Group.

    "The Air Force has some major explaining to do. All seven points of the report were affirmations of Boeing's talking points. And for the GAO to say 'absolutely right' to every one of them is just astonishing."

    Even though he thinks the Air Force has no choice but to rebid the contract, he cautioned against assuming Boeing will win.

    "They could decide that EADS still wins," he said. "But all of a sudden, Boeing has a chance again."

    Reactions vary

    Tiahrt said he was "getting my exercise running victory laps" after Wednesday's announcement.

    "I've always known this was a huge mistake, and I think how huge is just now sinking in for the Air Force," he said.

    At the same time, Roberts said, the victory is not complete.

    "We have won a battle, not the war," Roberts said. "There will be push back from Airbus and push back from the Air Force. It's not over yet."

    Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., said it is "very disturbing" that the Air Force "will likely have to go back to square one on the warfighter's No. 1 priority."

    Airbus had planned to build a manufacturing plant in Alabama to build the new tanker.

    Randy Belote, a Northrop Grumman spokesman, said his company is reviewing the GAO's findings.

    "We respect the GAO's work in analyzing the Air Force's tanker acquisition process," he said. "We continue to believe that Northrop Grumman offered the most modern and capable tanker."

    Mark McGraw, vice president for tanker programs at Boeing, said in a statement: "We welcome and support today's ruling by the GAO fully sustaining the grounds of our protest. We appreciate the professionalism and diligence the GAO showed in its review of the KC-X acquisition process. We look forward to working with the Air Force on next steps in this critical procurement for our warfighters."

    Bob Brewer, Midwest director for the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace in Wichita, said the decision made sense for the economy and workers.

    "I think it was the right decision for the American economy, even our local economy and state economy," Brewer said. "Where we are talking tens of thousands of jobs and millions of dollars, those dollars need to stay here and provide some job security to the American workers."

    Roots of the protest

    In awarding the contract in February to the Northrop-European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co. team, the Air Force said it had bested Boeing in virtually every category.

    Within two weeks, Boeing filed a protest with the GAO, alleging that the Air Force had adjusted the contract criteria at the last minute to ensure that there were at least two bidders. Boeing also said that Air Force officials had erred when they found that the Northrop-EADS tanker was better in mission capability, risk, past performance and cost.

    Boeing, which has built tankers for the Air Force since World War II, said the Air Force initially had sought bids for a medium-sized tanker but later switched to a bigger tanker in a move that favored the Northrop-EADS plane.

    The contract was to replace 179 Eisenhower-era KC-135 tankers. Eventually, the Air Force plans to replace all of its more than 600 tankers, at an estimated cost of roughly $100 billion.

    The Air Force's decision to award the contract to a team that included a European aerospace manufacturer was widely criticized on Capitol Hill. Lawmakers from Washington state and Kansas said that the Air Force's decision to use a European airframe would result in the loss of American jobs.
    Contributing: P.J. Griekspoor of The Eagle

    © 2007 Wichita Eagle and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved.

  2. Hostile

    Hostile Tacos are a good investment Zone Supporter

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    Now they just need to actually think the deal isn't in the bag and win the fair bid without under the table deals that result in convictions.

    No problem.

  3. ConcordCowboy

    ConcordCowboy Mr. Buckeye

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  4. big dog cowboy

    big dog cowboy THE BIG DOG Staff Member

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    No kidding. The time for fun and games is over. Just be straight up and honest. I'm still waiting to hear a reaction from McCain on this.

    I know but this has the local spin on it. :laugh2:
  5. burmafrd

    burmafrd Well-Known Member

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    I would love to know that the Air Force actually NEEDS and then look at the two planes in that manner. All we get is the OFFICIAL word and that usually has NOTHING to do with what the guys and girls flying the planes and being refueled actually want.

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