Tanker announcement

We found out this afternoon that Boeing’s KC-767 Advanced Tanker proposal was not selected by the U.S. Air Force.

Here’s the Boeing Company statement:

Obviously we are very disappointed with this outcome. We believe that we offered the Air Force the best value and lowest risk tanker for its mission. Our next step is to request and receive a debrief from the Air Force. Once we have reviewed the details behind the award, we will make a decision concerning our possible options, keeping in mind at all times the impact to the warfighter and our nation.

The Boeing Company would like to thank the many people who helped us in this campaign. We have received tremendous support from our suppliers, elected federal/state/local leaders, unions, community groups, and the 160,738 men and women who work for Boeing.

Comments (87)

G (France):

Is there any real need to appeal the decision?

Now, you need to focus on 787 and 747-8i.

JAHC (Monterrey, Mexico):

I feel sorry for this outcome. I strongly believe that the USAF should not rely on EADS for the important task of keeping its whole fleet in the air when needed. It´s a shame that Boeing, being their tanker supplier for decades, is not selected to renew the fleet. If the USAF wanted a bigger plane than the KC-767, they should have said so. I hope they don´t regret this decision in the future.

I´m also sure that in the long run, it will make Boeing and its employees wiser and stronger.

Chris Gibson (Euroa AUSTRALIA):

What an unbelievable decision. I am in a state of shock at the outcome.

Dave Mosier (Selma, Indiana, USA):

What a shame. This is a failure for Boeing, America,
and all of us shareholders. Shame on the United States Air Force and shame on Boeing. I'm appalled. Heads should roll.

Sean P. Dolye (Seattle, WA):

80% politics, 20% competition. Boeing was outclassed politically again by the powerful southern legislative contingent. I do believe the KC-30 will be a fine aircraft, as the KC-767 would have been too. In an election year where Boeing's enemy #1 in Congress is the de-facto Republican nominee and the need for the Pentagon to curry as much favor with the broadest coalition of politicians, the genius move by EADS and NorthrupGrumman locating their facility in the South paid off.

On the innovation side, I see Boeing, yet again just as with the JSF, taking an overly cautious and less innovative approach to their bid and losing. The P-8 Poseidon on the other hand is a shining example of Boeing thinking outside the box and innovating. The 787 is another.

I'm saddened for the thousands of workers, many of my neighbors, that will lose there jobs and see them exported to France and Alabama. The people who really end up paying will be the machinists on the 767 line. The 767 line provides many more high paying jobs than the 787 and 737 replacements ever will. Sigh. Sad day for Boeing workers in Seattle.

Mike (Australia):

As a New Zealander, I find it incredulous that this has been allowed to happen. A French company (and yes I know it was a joint venture, but hey, c'mon) supplying military equipment to the USAF ahead of a credible U.S. company with a credible product. How did this happen? Unbelievable!

D (France):

I understand it: it is not easy to lose a war against Airbus, but as correctly said G (France) you need to focus on the future. In such a large market, you will have many, many victories.
Be fair, tomorrow will be another day.

Olivier (Virginia Beach Va):

What a shame!
What is going here!
Giving away our one of last business away!
The Euro is trading at 1.53 not .53
Great for the tax payer!
Real bad deal for the US and this sinking economy.

I have faith in Boeing, this might take a decade years to recoop!

Skip (USA):

If the US government will not buy US products, what does that mean?

More lost manufacturing jobs and tax payers for the USA. Both the final assembly jobs in Kansas and the AC assembly in Washington. Bad timing for the economy. So my tax dollars will be sent to France instead of paying down our debt. Another punch in the gut for unions.

Another punch in the gut for the Defense side of Boeing. May need a new top guy there.

Overall seems like a dumb day for the USA.

Jim Rush (Huntington, IN):

The taxpayers are the ones that will benefit from this decision. That leasing deal - and all of the scandal that went with that prior decision really turned a lot we taxpayers off - in my opinion. (Whatever happened to Druyun?)

A330 is a proven airframe; and Airbus has the technology and experience to make this a good acquisition in the long term.

Boeing has a humongous backlog that they should be putting a laser like focus on.

73 (Lancaster, Pa):

To all my Euro friends that chimed in...I hope your governments (mainly France and Germany) do the same. Unfortunately, I feel this will never happen.

It's amazing how anti-American our own government has become. Crying about off-shoring jobs while they do it themselves. To all the readers of this post, google "Marine one augusta-westland". This is yet another multi-billion dollar contract that was sent overseas. And yet, a few years ago when Pepsi had interest in buying French yogurt maker Danone the French gov't held special sessions to discuss ways to keep Danone French.

The everyday, hardworking American is the victim in this. With so many developing countries taking our jobs, it's time we started defending them instead of throwing them away. Aviation is one of the last things we do and do well, why support a highly subsidized foreign company when we could build here at home.

James (Honolulu):

I believe the scandal that canceled the tanker contract the first time was hanging over Boeing's head, even though people went to jail.

Yet I believe the USAF has made a decision it will regret in the long term. The A330's higher fuel costs will eat up the lowball price NG/EADS probably offered the Air Force.

But, that said, I would not want Boeing to protest the decision. Whatever the plane the old KC-135s need to be retired ASAP.

Y (Los Angeles, CA):

Of course, A330 is a bigger and newer design than B767. Granted, more of smaller tankers would still provide a greater flexibility in battle field environment. Military operations is simply not the same as running an airline.

dave the worker (usa):

Because of the moral and ethical dilemmas some of Boeing's senior officials have incurred, we have been outsourced. As I have seen most of the 787 manufacturing go to other countries, I see an entire airplane being manufactured by another country.

This is not a pretty picture for someone who has endured the cutbacks post 9-11. Our country is regressing to third world status and nobody's listening.

Norman (Long Beach, California, United States):

It is a shame that the versatile KC-767 was not
selected by the USAF but this should not conclude
Boeing's push for the tanker, keep in mind that over 500 KC-135 are in service and need to be replaced, so far 179 KC-30's have been ordered this means their is space for over 300 KC-767's not to mention the E-3 Sentry and the Joint STARS that need to be replaced.

If anything at least the EADS/Airbus/Northrop A330MRTT/KC-30 will be assembled in America, in
Mobile, Alabama so this will create good manufacturing jobs and apprenticeships, so this is
not the end of the world and I don't think the Pentagon would have made the decision if it was not going to be assembled in the USA.

Trying to forestall and delay the project makes us look bad but petitioning the KC-767 to the Pentagon is a way to show that we have not given up on the tanker.

Gordon Werner (Seattle, WA):

Guess Airbus no longer needs subsidies from the EU ... now that US Taxpayers will be subsidizing all of their development for the foreseeable future.

T C (Mt. Vernon, WA):

Want some freedom fries to go with your new tanker?

This is not Boeing vs Airbus. It is the U.S. economy. More dollars headed out. I'm sorry, your economic stimulus rebate has been sent to Europe.


G (France):

to Mike (Australia)

A French company (and yes I know it was a joint venture, but hey, c'mon) supplying military equipment to the USAF ahead of a credible U.S. company with a credible product.

Please don't forget that many-many countries rely their defence on military equipments they don't build domestically. The same must apply to the US as well. US military must buy the equipments that fit best their criteria, even if those equipments are not made in America. That's the rule of the game today.

It happens that we, in Europe, build fine equipments too.

BCA now needs to focus on 787, 747-8, 777NG and 737RS. That's a hell lot of work.

PAT (Tacoma Wa):

Hey was this the country that would not help us in Iraq, and all they could do was bad mouth us. Nice reward. Good job Gen. Hope your kids, your grand kids,great grand kids, can't find work because of your poor judgment.

Here's a company that never build a tanker before and we reward them with American dollars. Hey USAF GEN next time we get ready to build jet fighters why not let Russia build them for the USA. American JOBS, AMERICAN DOLLARS, KISS IT GOOD BYE. That's ok, the goverment is giving us checks to stimulate the economy, we don't need the work here - send it to France - Our Buddys. DUMB DUMB DUMB DUMB.

Shankar (Chennai, India):

It does not matter whether the tanker is U.S based or not. What matters is the quality of the tanker and whether the tanker conforms to the requirements as laid out by USAF.

If non-American tankers were a problem, USAF should have immediately prevented NG and Airbus from entering the race. That was not done, so this question should have been raised many months ago. The reason it is being raised now is because Boeing was the heavy favorite and it did not really matter who the competitor was.

I am glad that USAF has chosen the A330 as it is a fine aircraft.

Chris C (South Africa):

This certainly is exceptionally disappointing news that the USAF next-generation air-refuelling tanker competition was not won by the incumbent supplier, Boeing!! I personally feel that the decision to opt for the rival KC-30 offering from EADS/Northrop Grumman is a ‘slap in the face’ to Boeing.

Whilst I will concede that this was a competition, and there was always the possibility that Boeing could lose, at the core of all of this, it is just does not seem fair, or right. However, the bottom line is, that both the KC-767AT and the KC-30 are great airplanes, and no matter which one was selected, it was still going to offer the warfighter a significantly more capable, advanced and more efficient air-refuelling platform.

There is still going to be many more occasions for Boeing to prove its worth in the USAF’s future replacement needs, using modified Boeing Commercial Airplanes, with the remaining KC-135 replacements, KC-10 Extender replacements and Lockheed C-5B Galaxy replacements.

Of course, there’s also Air Force One, the E-4B and the AL-1A 747-400 laser airplanes that will more than likely be replaced with 747-8Is. Already, the 747-8F has been earmarked to be the ABL A1-1A laser platform should the USAF give the final go-ahead for 8 ABLs. The -8F offers significantly more range and payload capabilities than the -400F as well as a host of new technologies that will allow the -8F to have a better integration with the potential mission systems of the ABL, not to mention it also having significantly more volume for additional laser fuel. Boeing builds the finest airplanes in the world, period.

M. Nissim (New York, NY):

I don't think this shocking anti-American decision by our own people should be the end of the road. The selection committee itself said that US employment was not a factor in its considerations.

Looking at the vast advertising programs by both companies stressing jobs to be created in the United States, one would have thought that this was, or should have been a major factor. Furthermore, the choice seems to have been made mainly on size. If this was part of the initial specs, then Boeing could have offered the 777, one would think. It outclasses the competition in every respect.

Phil (UK Wokingham):

Disappointment understandably for Boeing, but not unexpected after the previous IFR tanker fiasco. Presented with a choice this time the USAF evaluation & procurement boffins would have gone through this with a fine tooth combe as indeed did the RAF, RAAF UAE & Saudi Arabia in their decisions to go EADS.

It's about role capability, procurement economics do not have any precedence in defence purchases as well I know, life critical purchasing is the term used by the UK MoD

Take solace in the fact that Europe remains the largest purchaser of US military gear, some good a lot not so good, the tables have just turned slightly.....

Rob ( Canada) (Vancouver B.C. Canada):

A comment from north of the border. It would appear politics has played a bigger role in this decision than the merit of the bid.

In watching the General say on the news that they have to get the new tanker and can't wait any longer. Why not go with the bid that was accepted a few years ago. It was good enough then for price and spec's. Why not now?

How long will it take to erect the buidlings and train the people in Mobile to get this EADS / Airbus project up and running and what is the date for the first delivery?
Or will they start building some of the tankers in France now and wait until they are ready in Mobile?
You have an assembly line ready to go NOW, not waiting for something to be built in the future.

What you will end up with in Mobile is a place that will include a few cans of paint and a box of screws to finish the work. What does Northrop bring to the table, other than an American company to act as a front for EADS / Airbus? Notice how they all say Northrup Grumman, not EADS/Airbus. Remember it's a sell job to the public from politicians.

The tanker and its components are built overseas and brought to the US for some assembly. Yes, a similar situation some would say for 787. But private airlines are paying a US company, its employees, shareholders and its taxpayers billions for this plane. Now the US taxpaper will see BILLIONS of dollars leave the country.

It will be interesting to see what the Air Force does about the extra cost for runways, fuel and other infrastructure to accomodate the larger Airbus tanker?

Will they have lighter loads of fuel/cargo to keep the weight down for those smaller runways?

Make no mistake about this bid. It is first and foremost an EADS/ Airbus bid. The only bright light may be in future tanker orders. As I understand this only covers 1/3 of the tankers to be replaced. For political reason and no other, Boeing got its pee pee slapped by the Republicans before they are voted out of office.

For those who knock Unions, be thankful that that a lot of pay and benefits you now receive as Non Union workers were off the backs of the Unions, past and present and in the future.

I'm waiting for a cartoon that depicts a large corporate executive sitting in Toulouse France with an Airbus/EADS hat on, sipping on a Northrop Grumman straw from a drink that is full of BILLIONS OF US TAXPAYERS DOLLARS.

chrisC (San Jose,CA):

What kind of idiots run the US Air Force procurement department? How can our nation's security be dependent upon some French entity? Besides, a highly profitable EADS (as a result of these billions of dollars in revenue) will result in more trouble for Boeing's commercial marketplace in the future!

Maybe the Air Force should change their motto from "Aim High" to "Aim Low"!

Larry (Everett, Wa):

I am shocked by this decision. Unbelievable that our government, in our nations' troubled economic times award this contract to a foreign country. I feel betrayed by my own government. Boeing should tell USAF that they can jam Air Force One as well. I'm sure no one at Boeing has any desire to work that aircraft which at one time was a sense of pride to all seeing it return to the Everett flightline.


I pretty much agree with most of the comments here! It is a very sad day when the US government doesn't pick from its own "credible product" as Mike (Australia) said. To the US Government: SUPPORT YOUR OWN!

rob ( Canada) (vancouver B.C. Canada):

The writing was on the wall for Boeing when they scheduled the announcement late Friday afternoon to avoid any prolong weekday media press attention . Let other events over the weekend happen and try to bury the bad news. A favorite trick of politicians. If it was good news, they want to bask in the limelight all week, bad news a different story, how to do we hide from it as quickly as possible.

Along with that timing, you have the country in the middle of an election process that will always be on the front pages and the presidential candidates dealing with getting other issues and not wanting to comment on the bid winner or loser. Safer to say nothing.

John Whiting (London):

How pathetic. The Royal Air Force uses American-built C-17s and American-built C-130s and American-built L-1011s and doesn't throw a tantrum about it. As soon as the decision goes the other way, Washington state throws a hissy-fit and demands a recount (the Alabama crowd doesn't seem to be calling it a French airplane...)

Much of the KC-45 wil be US-made. And if foreign-built aircraft are such a bad idea, why is a huge chunk of the 787 being made in Japan, France, Italy, the UK, Korea...?


Boeing should announce they are putting a 777 team together to bid on the KC-Y competition.

Don't cry, fight back.



mgs (marysville washington USA):

what does it mean to be American anymore? there should be a law to outlaw building anything, or outfitting any of our military forces, outside of these beautiful borders with foreign companies. I'm scared and believe the devil is at work here. I'm disappointed and ashamed of our country, how long will we live free, and enjoy the life style we know in this great country? I'm sick. It's time to take back our country.

Ray from Detroit (Detroit, MI USA):

Do you really find this "appalling" decision surprising? In Detroit, we have been going through these type of bull crap decisions for years. Look out your backdoor and see what you're driving. If it doesn't have a Ford, Chrysler, or GM emblem on it, my friend....you are barking up the wrong tree.


The USAF can not be expected to wade into politics; that's not why we pay the military. I expect this decision to be challenged by the Congress and rightly so; we can not allow a key ingredient of our nation's military power projection capability to be sourced overseas. The KC-30 is a splendid aircraft; no debate there. But there are obvious and compelling reasons why this needs to be reviewed, protested, and...failing a successful protest...simply NOT FUNDED. We need to preserve our industrial base; the French and Germans need to look to their own. There will be a massive net loss of jobs for American aerospace workers.

This selection is just plain dumb. I look forward to it becoming a major issue in the presidential and congressional campaigns. I am confident that when all strategic factors are taken into account, economic as well as military, this tanker deal will be tanked.

Alberto Maya R. (Medellín - Colombia):

I am very surprised with this decision.

It would be interesting to know the opinion of the presidential candidates, since one thing is to criticize the Free Trade Agreements and another is to accept that a official dependency grants important contracts to the Europeans, which is against the direct creation of jobs in the U.S.A.

Sal (New York, NY):

Contrary to what some have said here, those defending the KC-767AT are from both political parties. And those who are cheering the victory of the Airbus KC-30 are from both parties. So this has less to do with political affiliation and much more to do with a state by state competition, ironically supported by the EU.

Make no mistake. It was the American people who got fooled today. Not only will the U.S. Air Force be subsidizing road, building and infrastructure construction in Alabama and Toulouse, France, but Airbus' entire commercial product line as well.

Now the EU can claim that EADS is also subsidized by the United States government, when the WTO trial starts.
Congress needs to step up and and terminate funding for the KC-45. This is not 6 C-130s here and 4 C-17s there as our friend from the UK would have us believe.
This is an entire aerial platform program with hundreds of aircraft at stake.

Randy, the 777 should have been offered, and I have felt that since the RFP was submitted. As a stockholder, I'm very disappointed in the leadership of this company. The buck stops with you and the leadership. I can only hope that, if this decision by the Air Force is overturned, as I believe it will be, you will offer the Air Force an aircraft they want.

Dan (France):

All the whining! Trying to make a bit more money out of the old junk 767 instead of coming up with a good modern FBW tanker was always a dubious strategy. If you hadn't blindfolded yourselves by wrapping the stars and stripes around your bid, you might have seen that.

Anyway, good luck Alabama! What a wonderful day for the aviation industry, especially in America. Now a third city in the world building widebodies! Looking forward to seeing tankers, freighters, and who knows, maybe even pax A330s rolling off that line one day.

Paulo M (Johannesburg, RSA):

Wow - flawed or floored?

I'm torn between America's commitment to that Copper Statue in New York City - The Statue of Liberty - and everything it stands for, and America's commitment to itself.

I think that the United States should make some sacrifices to maintain as strong a forward focussed relationship as possible with Europe - especially now as the world rapidly changes. At times, countries such as the United Kingdom, Germany and France have helped the US remain true to itself.

The USA is after all an invention of European immigrants fleeing oppression and tyranny in their native countries. In turn, Europe must play a more proactive role in the world so that the USA is not the de facto police officer. Europe should embrace a stronger stance on free markets - if it is to maintain comparative living standards with the United States.

Indeed, in spite of the US DoD's decision for a largely foreign product, and the mess in the US housing and credit markets, the USA is expected to pull ahead of Europe by 2009 - as it had for about 15 years prior to last year. And the USA will likely continue creating more jobs than Europe - as it has for the past 40 years.

About Alabama and the South in general: it is common knowledge that unemployment in the Deep South - as a whole - is at higher rates than most of the rest of the country. When foreigners exploit that weakness, Americans only have themselves to blame.

Similarly, your government's response to Hurricane Katrina unfortunately increased negative perceptions worldwide about your government’s commitment to its own people. At the same time, poverty in the United States is at higher levels than any of the most advanced economies in the world - some 35 to 40 million of your countrymen, women and children live below what you define as the poverty line.

On Marine One: Seeing that the US chose a foreign firm, Agusta Westland, to supply this equipment - lead by system integrator Lockheed Martin and backed by Textron's Bell, it would not really be a surprise if it went that same route with Air Force One. But Air Force One stands for so much more - it would be strange if the US President where to fly around the world showcasing the great technology of non-American firms. That is why the American companies that wish to hold onto that prestige should make the best offers - being as bold as possible - to win that contract.

And seeing that the USAF thinks it wants a longer-range tanker, I think that Boeing should be bold there too. Potentially, there remains two thirds of the tanker fleet that needs to be replaced. Or, Boeing could work much harder to convince the USAF that the KC-767 could work very well for it - by winning more international contracts.

Losing is not cool - but many valuable lessons can be learnt - and much good can be achieved. In losing the CX-HLS contract of 1965, Boeing went on to achieve far greater dollar success on commercial markets than did the bid winner in its CX-HLS role. Innovate.

Hugh Jampton (London):

It's a long time since so many toys have been thrown out of so many prams. There should be no surprise in this result as the Boeing offering was a collection of bits from three different 767 models.

The USAF chief of staff declared the Boeing offering "unfit for purpose". A few more delays in the 787 program and who knows what will happen.

John K (Eugene, Oregon ):

I am surprised at the USAF decision to buy a plane made in the EU. Knowing of past EU under the table ‘marketing inducements,’ I wait for full disclosure of all details of various informal payments. There must be more details to this difficult story.

On the surface, it does not seem have all details explained. Breaking this important story on Friday afternoon is a way to bypass too much media attention. By Monday it will be almost forgotten, but not forgotten by me.

Ed (Dublin, Ireland):

[i]How long will it take to erect the buidlings and train the people in Mobile to get this EADS / Airbus project up and running and what is the date for the first delivery?

Or will they start building some of the tankers in France now and wait until they are ready in Mobile?
You have an assembly line ready to go NOW, not waiting for something to be built in the future.

Rob, the first 20 frames will be built in Toulouse, France. There is no discernable time diference between the Boeing and NG/EADS proposals - both aircraft have not been fully developed and both are currently in the stage of completing the first prototypes. The first KC-30 flew last year!


Guys, the facts are on the table. The NG/EADS KC-30 has about 60% american content. The Boeing KC-767ADV had about 75% american content. Take the larger size of the KC-30 into account and they become very similar in terms of US content.

If you don't like US jobs going overseas, take a look at the 787 programme which has at least 3/4 foriegn made content. This is how large aircraft are made today. Boeing should be applauded in their innovative methods applied on the 787.

[i]How pathetic. The Royal Air Force uses American-built C-17s and American-built C-130s and American-built L-1011s and doesn't throw a tantrum about it.[/i]

Dont forget the UK army Apaches! The British army chose the Apache in a similar competition against the EADS built 'Tiger' attack chopper. I wish all the guys above would realise this.

The French airforce also relies on US built KC-135s and C130s for their tanker / transport needs.

Most of Europe's airforces fly F16, F18, C130, Apaches, Bell helicopters, Chinooks, Gulfstreams, BBJs, Sikorskys, and all other types of quality US-made equipment.

Even my little country (Ireland) which does not have an airforce had some US made equipment for our Air Corps (Gulfstream GIV and Beechcraft) and SAR (Sikorsky S61).

- Why should American-European military purchases be totally one sided?????

Bjorn (Malta):

Putting myself in the shoes of the US taxpayer, I definitely choose the KC-767, in order to keep the US dollar in the US economy and not outside. Repercussions will be felt for a very long time.

Pong (Manila):

I had been working on both the A330 and B767 since the 1990s. If you read Airworthiness Directives you will be appalled with the A330. Exploding APUs, Oil smell in cabin, thrust reverser problems. It's like comparing a Japanese car with a Chinese made imitation.

The generals talking about the A330 advantages will be surprised that in 5 years time the aircraft starts to break down. B767 for is still the best.

Borys Pawliw (Sydney):

Sorry guys, but the USAF has made a decision that included the viability of a major US defence contractor - Northrop Grumman has only a tenuous hold on modern aircraft programs and the tanker contract ensures their viability in the sector.

As painful as this may be for Boeing, the facts are that:

* The 767 line may die, but the workers there can easily be transfered to other Boeing programs.

* Boeing can now devote more resources to its civilian aircraft program.

* With the likely continuing fall of the USD over the long term, EADS may find this program not as profitable as it may believe (despite any hedging that may occur)

Boeing does not need this program. So blow your noses, then roll up your sleeves and carry on.

Richard (Coventry, UK):

Much as I respect and admire America and the Boeing Corporation (my favourite civilian aircraft is a 777 with Rolls Royce engines),. I would say that in this instance, the USAF picked the right tanker.

Anyone who actually believes the 'Only US planes by US workers for US forces' mantra should wise up. Globalisation is the new World order, and the 787 Project is testament to this.

Here in the UK, our Ministry of Defence always try to buy the best equipment at the right price. This is why our military use a mixture of home grown, European and US kit.
If the UK (or our European neighbours) practiced what some commentators on here are preaching, then US hardware exports would dwindle and that harm US manufacturing much, much more.

If the 767 tanker was the best it would have won on its own merits. Boeing's insistence that the KC-767 was 'the right size' together with the whole US jobs argument really didn't do their bid any favours.

Boeing should accept this loss gracefully and move on. The world beating 787 could do with another production line so WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?!

Mike (NSW, Australia):

To G(France)

"BCA now needs to focus on 787, 747-8, 777NG and 737RS. That's a hell lot of work."

Now your true colours come out. Attempting a put down of BCA products (and on Randy's site as well) shows where you are really at.

Of course now, Airbus have a nice packet of extra monies to help their development in the future but if Boeing have a big job further developing their range, how about your mob? Not much new going on there but a 787 attempted copy and a bloated old-world behemouth. Mate, have a look inside your own hanger first!

Robert (Wichita, Kansas USA):

These are MY tax dollars. I am writing my Congressmen and demanding that they withhold funding on this project immediately! American dollars MUST equal American products!

Jean-Jacques HOBOCT (France):

I am sure the KC-30 is a fine aircraft, and will serve the U.S. airmen well. As for "American vs. European", I am sure many EU member states will be enjoying their F-35s (and not Eurofighters) soon!! It is now a global marketplace, not only in commerce but increasingly also in defence.

And what for Boeing? This is surely a disappointment, or perhaps an epiphany. The answer, I believe, is to focus on the future (787) and not to over-extend the legacy product (767) past its commercial use by date.

The 787, it is innovation, it is the BOEING spirit, and it is selling like hot pancakes -- surely it makes sense to concentrate on such infrastructure, rather than taking every last drop out of the 767?

Would it not be conceivable that existing 767 plant be re-tooled for additional 787 production? Perhaps another fastener factory too! (I jest! :)

Who knows, for the next USAF tanker tender, KC-787 versus what? KC-350? Will that even exist? A true battle royal!

Tom Pang (Hong Kong):

What's going on?

It's quite unbelievable to me as US government does not support US company, but it rely on an European Company.......

This has only two reasonable explanations. One is its offer is much much better than Boeing. Another is due to political reason, where it cannot be easily explained by us.

Anyway, as a Hong Kong people, it is a joke for me. I would look forward to see a US fighter having air refuel by an European airplane inside US, giving that US has its capacity to make its own tankers.

Paul Virtue (Raleigh, NC):

A very surprising decision and not something that will sit well in the Congress. Boeing may try to appeal and this may have a perverse affect of delaying the program and the cash flow to Airbus, but they probably won't win and will cause a lot of political damage to the US.

My feeling is that B screwed this one up and that they should accept the decision, chop some executive heads and move on. That way they can focus more resources on the commercial aircraft side, especially the 787 program, where they could push production and focus on bringing out the -10 and possibly the -11 models.

Reece Lumsden (Everett, WA):

As mentioned in the Wall Street Journal (3/3/08)
"It's an acknowledgment that globalization is real". Hints that there are no safe-havens now when it comes to procurement.

Johnny Stick (El Segundo, Ca):

So the tanker goes to Northrup-Grumman/ EADS; the new kids on the block. They wrote a good story in their proposal. How long into the contract do we find out the real cost? If EADS starts to overrun in order to mature their product, would this decision still have been the best choice? I wonder what the true non-recurring cost will be?

Terre (Oil City,PA):

I heard about this on the news 1 time last week and was wondering what was up. I have nothing to do with it other than I saw that Americans didn't get the job. I am enraged for you, when our economy is soooo bad and the politicians go and do something like this. I would love to hear more about it on the news, supposing it is trying to be kept quite during election year. What a shame, I think the American people need to hear more on this.

G (France):

to Mike (NSW, Australia)

Now your true colours come out. Attempting a put down of BCA products (and on Randy's site as well) shows where you are really at.

In a tanker the most important part is not the platform, that is why KC-135s have been serving US Air Force since Eisenhower era. The truth is that the A330 will merely be a platform to fly US equipments. The engines are US built, most of its electronics will be US made and many other subsystems are made by US companies.

The tanker operations will be executed by US citizens, US personnel will likely maintain the fleet. Guess which part of an airplane needs most of the maintenance? Its the engines (GE). The employment to operate the tanker fleet will be infinitely higher than the employment to build the platform.

Compare it to a mobile-missile platform. Is it a problem to have a mercedes truck platform or is it more important to have excellent US made missiles and US electronics warfare on it?

And last but not least, don't forget that today we are only in the X part of XYZ.

Paulo M (Johannesburg, RSA):

An important question keeps popping up here - and anywhere else that carries this debate. "Why should American-European military purchases be totally one sided?????" This along with globalisation, etc. Globalisation is fine - it's not the problem.

The problem is the big picture - in numbers. Here, Europe has this image of being the world's supreme "soft-power" - implying the number one developmental aid giver and the first to aid in cases of great humanitarian disasters.

In 2003, the USA had 87 C-17's, while Western Europe (i.e. the UK) had FOUR. Now, while Europe purports to be the world's top soft-power, it is the United States that is clearly ready (and eager) to carry the burden.

It's a no-brainer that the EU's military spending is insignificant compared with that of the US. The US is there, and the EU is not.

The DoD has made its choice based on the competing aircrafts' performance, cost and so on. That must not be vetoed. Boeing should rethink its position on the USAF tanker. Just as it has sought to substitute the newer, larger, more capable, and more efficient 747-8 airframe for the older 747-400 for the eight remaining Airborne lasers that the air force might want to purchase, Boeing should go the same route with the KC-X – choose any one of the 777-200 air frames – and you got a better combination of more efficiency, more capability, and more range than either of the Airbus A330 airframes – the –200 or the –300.

I've always thought that Boeing was the number one builder of large airplanes - military or civil - with the greatest payload/range potential. Why should it be any different now?

Jim Drake (Long Beach, CA):

It seems to me the USAF really wanted a larger airplane than the 767. Why didn't our team recognize that and bid the 777-200LRF instead?

I understand the frustration of my fellow employees, but the A330 is a decade younger than the 767, so perhaps our defeat isn't so surprising. Remember - the customer is always right. Perhaps it's time to move on, and offer a 777 or 787 tanker as the KC-45A killer for the second tranche of USAF tankers.

This is only the first round of the bout!

Jerry (Tucson, AZ, USA):

To me it is a matter of National Security.

The bulk of American military goods must come
from American suppliers (sorry rest of world, that
we are a superpower).

I would have even tolerated as much as 45% of the
business going to EADS. But not all of it.

And I pay huge tax dollars so I'm fuming.

I will support whichever political party does the most to derail this contract.

Bjorn (Malta):

Right, globalization is the order of the day but that belongs to commercial activities only and not the military operations!!

MK (Grand Rapids, MI ):

First, I agree with Jerry from Tucson. Secondly, how many folks out there think US companies get a legit shot at Airbus programs? Try none or very few. US companies only get a shot if the technology isn’t available with a French company and then they want it passed on to a French company. Check out Thales and tell me this isn’t true.

Also, does it bother anyone else that EADS is part owned by the Russians? The Russians for Pete’s sake! We already know Airbus will sell anything to anyone so where else do you suppose our tax dollar funded technology will be going?

Everyone is also ignoring the billions it’s going to cost us taxpayers to modify the facilities to accommodate the A330. So, Boeing has a real tanker, and Airbus a paper one and they still win.

I feel for Boeing employees. I really do. Having said that, please don’t forget the suppliers to Boeing as well. We’re looking at a couple hundred job losses in one area of our state alone and if you haven’t checked lately, Michigan is in a one-state recession and going downhill fast. So far we can’t get either of our Senators or representatives to step up to the plate and help….and forget our Governor. She won’t touch it so far.

Lastly, whomever it was that said the Airbus will be a fine airplane is mistaken to make such a forward comment. Maybe it will, maybe it won’t. Just remember that Airbus has never had to reinforce an existing airframe before to do this type of work, and I have personally maintained Airbus airplanes in the past. They simply are flat out not as good as a Boeing airplane. Maybe that will change one day, but it isn’t true today.

Mogens (Norway):

It seems like none of the US natives want to answer the two simple questions that have been raised multiple times in this thread already:

* Why is it OK for european countries to buy military equipment, but it's not OK the other way around? Doesn't the same arguments you propose work when applied to the reverse scenario?

* Why do you insist on the KC-767 to be the best offer even though the USAF has made its choice? They're the ones who are going to be using it, why on earth would they go for the "controversial" choice if it wasn't the plane best suited for their operations?

I guess competition is only cool when you win ;)

Vito Fazzolara (Sterling Heights Mi. macomb):

Being from Michigan i understand how this will have a negative impact in your state but also being from Michigan home of the big three i must ask what cars will you find in the parking lot of the Boeing employees buying imports seems to be the trend .....I think its time to put America first. Its a disgrace that the U S military is buying foreign spending our tax dollars to the benefit of foreign profits. Are you telling us that Boeing has a inferior plane???? I think not ...


Nothing had never been published about 767-200LRF, specialy the MTOW I believe ranging between 430.000 and 440.000 lb to carry about 50 métric tons on flights similar to that of 777-200LRF or 747-8F.

Discussions, since a year, focused on a 402.000 lb KC767A near cloning italian or japan's one.
If it's right, why Boeing didn't offer a KC767B with 440.000 lb MTOW to carry 112 fuel metric tons like KC45, fourty tons heavier to do the job?
A lighter, cheaper KC767B with 20/24% less fuel consumption and more with 747-8 GEnx engines.

Thank you to confirm my comments. So, I'll continue speaking about the "bizarre" KC45 choice here, topic "avions militaies" and "appel d' offre des ravitailleurs de l' USAF".

Boeing had to offer and built KC767B!!!...

Jun Leido (Manila, Philippines):

Randy, it was sad day indeed. As an enthusiast, I have been following this and it left me numbing still.

The KC-767 AT was the better tanker for the job. The flexibility of the airframe is outstanding, the commercial record is bar none, plus the commonality and footprint it had was in the same region on the existing tankers, KC-135 and KC-10.

I think:

1. Allies choice' of the Airbus KC-30 ( Australia, UK, Canada ) may have impacted the choice.

But hey - how much air refuelling does those country do? I think Australia got their MRTT to be more like a people transport? Now I know the USAF ferry soldiers around, but don't they have contractors - like World Airways to do that?

2. The fallacy that the 767 is OLD compared to the A330 - what is old in the aviation business? The concept of flying dates way back to the Wright Brothers. So what's new? the A330 is just a longer, re-winged and re-engined A300!!! What's new about that. Probably if we called the 767 the 797, then the " old " tag won't apply...

3. Politics.

We got to do something about this.

BOEING cannot go on ceding strongholds just because it doesn't make shareholder sense today. we can give away the VLA Market, We can't give away the tanker market...

Steve Johnson (Weston, FL):

On April 15, 1986, President Reagan ordered air strikes against Libya in retaliation for Libya-sponsored terrorist actions. The plan called for F-111's from RAF Upper Heyford and RAF Lakenheath to attack targets in Libya.

The French and Spanish governments refused to allow overflights of USAF aircraft because they didn't approve of the raids. This forced our aircraft to fly all the way around France and Spain, adding 2600 miles and about 5 and a half hours of flying time to the mission.

While this mission was a success, I can forsee the day when we are involved a military action of some sort that the French government doesn't approve of. I can also forsee that some critical spare parts shipment will be held up awaiting some sort of government export approval.

Our tankers will be sitting out of service on the ramp, when they need to be in the air passing gas.
This award is a disservice to our loyal, patriotic, honorable members of the United States Air Force.
Write your Congressman.

John F. Opie (Oberstedten, Germany):

While I understand Boeing's disappointment here, there is a huge upside.

EADS, in the dispute between the US and Europe regarding subsidies for EADS, can no longer make the claim (an inaccurate one in any case) that Boeing's civilian aircraft business benefits from military contracts in a similar way.

Because now EADS does as well. They cannot have their cake and eat it too: they will have to give up their illegal subsidies. Or do you think that the WTO will accept that EADS will have two subsidies?

Getting rid of the EADS subsidies may be worth shutting down the 767 line: concentrate on the future, not extend the past...besides, KC-Y is coming up, and Boeing should win that one.

Norm (STL, USA):

I'm sorry for the Boeing stockholders and workers. But this could be blessing in disguise. Dealing with the DOD is a pain with ridiculous paperwork and payment delays. Let's see how Airbus deal with this problem. Let them make their big capital investment-and let them base it on the assumption they are getting 120 tankers-perhaps the Airforce's need will change and they will switch to a 777 based Tanker in 2015.

The key is not to tell our lawmakers that we want the decision changed-but that we want an even playing field like Airbus demanded. Let's see the Unions not simply complain but work like Norma Rae to organize the Alabama plant so that Airbus has the same costs as Boeing. And let's demand that all of the rules and regulations that apply to a Boeing produced plane apply to Airbus.

When this thing is over in ten- fifteen years I'm guessing that Airbus will make a small return on its investment, the US Taxpayers will get a good deal subsidized by the governments of Europe and the American workers will get a pretty good share of the work. Boeing may well be better off in that it can use its highly trained workforce for a 737 or 777 replacement.

The world is Flat-let's just make sure the playing field isn't titled towards our competitors!

James (St. Louis, MO):

The timing of the announcement seems a little fishy. The air force made the announcement after the primaries in Washington, Kansas, and the other states that build the Boeing planes. Do I smell a scandal?

Concerned American (Chicago, IL):

I believe that if our congressional leaders do nothing about this loss then maybe we should start letting politicians from other countries run for congress. Makes it a lot easier to give them our work and tax dollars.

Dick Youngblood (Depoe Bay, OR):

"Why is it OK for (E)uropean countries to buy military equipment, but it's not OK the other way around? Doesn't the same arguments you propose work when applied to the reverse scenario?"

-- Oh, do you mean like when the French government held a "competition" to select a Multi-Role Tanker Transport? Airbus won that one too -- except Boeing was not allowed to bid!

"Why do you insist on the KC-767 to be the best offer even though the USAF has made its choice? They're the ones who are going to be using it, why on earth would they go for the "controversial" choice if it wasn't the plane best suited for their operations?"

-- Good question! The Air Force wouldn't comment on Boeing's proposal during last Friday's news conference, and for some reason they need until March 12 to prepare to "debrief" Boeing. But they were able to share it with analyst Loren Thompson on March 3, and now they get the opportunity to explain it to a House subcommittee tomorrow (March 5). Is it any wonder Boeing is asking for an immediate debriefing?

Mark F. (Long Island, New York):

I was shocked at the decision as well. Having said that, if USAF wanted a larger tanker, why did Boeing insist on offering the 767-200 as the base airframe ? Why wouldn't they offer a 767-300 or 767-400 based tanker ? They 777 may be overkill, but I can't understand why they were hung up on the -200, without considering the longer 767 airframes that are available.

Also, most people will agree that Boeings are more robustly built than Airbus frames. Airlines are now junking 20 year old A-320's, while Boeing products can soldier on reliably for 30 or 40 or even 50 years (ditto for McDD products - the NWA DC-9's). The Air Force was short sighted here, and they will pay more in the long run, in terms of increased fuel, maintenance and other costs, plus the fact that the A-330 based frames will not last as long as the Boeing products. I still can't believe what happened.....

Ed (Ireland):

Dick Youngblood (Depoe Bay, OR) :

''-- Oh, do you mean like when the French government held a "competition" to select a Multi-Role Tanker Transport? Airbus won that one too -- except Boeing was not allowed to bid!''

What are you talking about? The KC-767 has lost the last 5 competitions with the A330MRTT, but the French have not ordered any tanker - They still use the KC-135.

''-- Good question! The Air Force wouldn't comment on Boeing's proposal during last Friday's news conference, and for some reason they need until March 12 to prepare to "debrief" Boeing. But they were able to share it with analyst Loren Thompson on March 3, and now they get the opportunity to explain it to a House subcommittee tomorrow (March 5). Is it any wonder Boeing is asking for an immediate debriefing? ''

The USAF said 'on or before March 12th'. Thats a maximum of 10 working days, not weeks. It appears that a debrief will in fact be given on Thursday. That's three working days. Not weeks.

Tom (Arizona):

There are quite a few very emotional outbursts demanding to know why Boeing did not win this USAF contract, as if it was a god given right for them to get it......and now, these people are accusing the AF of being 'anti-American'?? real!!!

Let's get emotions out of it (unless, you are a Boeing employee, in which case its understandable).

1. The Air Force apparently picked the plane that best suited its needs based on defined criterias.
Boeing, for some reason, has been 'pushing' the 767 since day 1. They obviously had blinders on, probably thought (and behaved) as if they knew better than the AF what it needed. The same solution proposed 5+yrs ago....did the Boeing team ever look out of the paper bag they had over the heads over the past few years?

It seems like Boeing used the same process they mocked Airbus on the A330 to A350 transformation. Those customers did NOT want a 'warmed over' A330 as a A350, just as the AF did not want a 'warmed over' 767-200. Period.

2. This is a $35B contract that will end up with a cost of ownership of about $100B.
If EADS does 40% in the US (thats $14B US), and Boeing is 60% US ($21B) the delta is only about $7B.
Most of the cost of ownership expenses (engines/electronics) of $65B will be US, no matter who wins.

3. What's this "buy American" only sentiment? The US is the worlds biggest arms exporter...including to Europe. It's OK to SELL to them, but not to buy FROM them? Do we REALLY think that EADS products, or other nations products, are always inferior to ours? Or is it just pride? Someone earlier had mentioned to look in your garage and see where your vehicle was designed or manufactured.

4. Last I looked EADS was not 100% French. Somehow the Germans, British and Spanish are involved also.

Let's try to accept the fact that MAYBE, just maybe, the EADS/Northrup solution was a better one than Boeing provided.

And MAYBE, just maybe, it was NOT a political decision favoring EADS, but since Boeing lost it, then let's MAKE it a political one.

Let's instead focus on our personnel and improve their military capability with this new tanker to replace aircraft that are almost as old as I am.

Being sore losers, and dragging out the to procurement, through the courts and heaven help us- the Congress- will just jeopardize our capabilities worldwide.

Brad (Seattle):

Like many Boeing employees I was shocked by this decision. As an American I am greatly angered that our government officials made a decision to spend our tax dollars buying French products.

The US needs to keep these good paying jobs in the US. This is a horrible decision and I truly hope our elected officials take action to reverse this.

Edward Thomson (Foster City, CA):

Please do not let Boeing appeal losing the USAF Tanker Contract! It will cause more harm to the company's good reputation than the hot headed patriots on here realize.

As this is election year, our politicians (especially the Democratic candidates) are crying foul and are demanding that the contract decision be reversed in Boeing favor. DO NOT TRUST THEM! They are after the popular vote and are just using Boeing as a pawn in their political game.

Once in the White House, they will conveniently forget about the USAF Tanker Contract and hang Boeing out to dry.

Boeing has a huge order book and plenty of work to do on the 737NG, 777, 777 and 747-8; so stop and get on with it!

Ron B (Mesa, AZ, USA):

Randy, Thanks for this site. What a load of posts that are streaming in about the Tanker decision. I Hope all is good with the progression of installation of the major components on the 787 program.

I am really more excited for this newest BAC product than the Tankers, but rather puzzled about the USAF Tanker decision.

Looking at the majority of the posts, I did not notice much about some issues with the USAF Request for Proposals (RFP). Here are some notes from news sources and comments about this Tanker contract RFP.

In response to those who ask if there is a need to appeal or request a hearing of the Tanker decision. I say yes there is... read below to know why.

According to a statement from Rep. Norm Dicks (D-Wash. office, Boeing was prepared to offer a large tanker, its 777, for the competition in November 2006, but communications with the Air Force at the time indicated the competition sought a "medium size" tanker.

In January, 2007 the following quote was from Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne....

"We want to buy a tanker. We do not want to buy a cargo airplane that tanks, we also do not want to buy a passenger airplane that tanks. We want to buy a tanker," Wynne stated emphatically. "It's primary mission is going to be a tanker. The fact that it can carry cargo or passengers is a benefit, but it is not the primary reason for the procurement."

On February 29, 2008 some time after the USAF Tanker decision announcement is the following quote from the USAF General who commands the Air Force's tanker fleet, "I can sum it up in one word: more." "More passengers, more cargo, more fuel to offload, more patients that we can carry, more availability and more dependability."

There seems to be conflicting information between the requested USAF needs of the TANKER and the end results of their decision.

Here is a comment from a former USAF Navigator.
I was a KC-135 navigator in the Gulf War. One of the things we discovered was that we needed more booms in the air, not more gas. The KC-10s did great service then, but while they could offload more fuel, they couldn't refuel any faster than the KC-135s. This is a bottleneck when you are refueling lots of fighters in the air.

These are all good points that will need to be asked of and then addressed by the USAF regarding this all important Tanker program decision.

These are all valid and are grounds for appealing or requesting a hearing from the USAF to give their reason of their decision.

Abu A. Khan (Washington, DC):

Why is Boeing stock on 767-200 as a tanker, when they could have offer the Air Force 767-400 as a KC-135 replacement? I assume Boeing 767-400 & Airbus A-330-200 is almost the same size aircraft?

Did Boeing offer 767-400 to Air Force as a tanker?

kman (St.Louis):

So, does anyone really think that France will allow Boeing into their defense procurements (even if it is absolutely clear we have the much better product)?

Dream on!

This is so, so, so sad!

And to those that say this will still create jobs in US -- it is been shown by many sources (I'm not showing any since it is so easy for everyone to find) that the NET result will be jobs lost in US.

Chris (Renton, WA USA):

This should be a lesson learned. Cheaper is not always better. Monkey see, Monkey do. The outsourcing of jobs is even on a government level. Perhaps Boeing can learn the value of its employees, and stop outsourcing the work to other countries and vendors.

I hope we still have a fighting chance here. Again, I hope the higher ups at Boeing understand what it feels like to lose a job to another contract or country. It hurts like heck, and the lives affected by poor decisions come back. Quit fleecing our work!!!

james h. fagan (Mission Viejo, CA ):

I find this decision almost to the point of being anti American.

I urge very strongly that Boeing bring this issue to the American people with all the fervor they can muster.

I may add that I am a free market supporter but this almost borders on treason to the American people and our nation.

Russ (USA):

This was Boeing's to lose, and while not an easy task, they managed the feat.

The 767 tanker could have been so much more than their proposal provided. Why not a 767-200 OR 767-300 airframe, with the 767-400ER MLG and raked wingtips. Then add the 465K MTOW, wet horizontal stab and A330 engines proposed for the 767-400ERX, and you would have an airplane that could offload 10K MORE fuel @ 1000nm range than the A330.

Instead Boeing offered a 403K MTOW 767-200 with 37K LESS fuel offload @1000nm range than the A330.

Boeing lost on nearly every measure of the competition. That's not politics or flag waving. That's business. The better proposal won. Sorry folks.

stick_shaker (Netherlands):

I think a B777-200LRF needs more then 11.000ft of runway at sea level. The tanker requirement is 7000 ft. The KC135, KC767, KC30 and KC10 can do 7000 ft.

A KC777 empty would also weigh 70.000lbs more then a KC30 empty. Its higher price would mean less booms in the air. Then we have fuel consumption, noise, pollution, longer time to market.

Minor details I guess. Never let reality change a good story line.

Luckily Boeing has a strong backlog (even with some cancellations), good financial reserves and major projects to start. New 787 versions, a new narrowbody, in my opinion a 380-500 seater.

Maybe form an alliance to prevent EADS taking a serious bite from the upcoming C-130 replacement market. Don´t make the mistake to dismiss the A400M the same way they did the KC39. Take a closer look & you´ll notice the euros created a mean machine..

heads up boys, deep down we all admire US optimism



I find the bulk of the pro-Boeing posts here embarrasing. Very few comments about the K767 being the superior offering, (because, of course it was not) but instead post after post decrying the failure of our government to support the industrial complex.

If it has to be Boeing fine, but then Northrop/EADS should have been told at the beginning not to bother submitting a bid. (Initially they were leery about only being in the competition to drive Boeing's price down.)

Further I don't see how Boeing can question the Air Force risk analysis when the KC767 for Japan is five years behind schedule and the 787 keeps slipping to the right.

Mike (Wa-FL):

If everyone was so concerned about losing american jobs why dont you look at all of the overseas plants that Boeing has developed throughout the years. Boeing Russia, Boeing China (yes! china), Boeing Middle East, Boeing UK.

Just take a look on the web and you will see that it is not only commercial products but very high intel military products. Where was all the crying when Boeing started these companies? Oh! one more thing, the 787 is in more trouble (delayed, delayed, delayed). I think Boeing already has a full plate and they need to concentrate on what they have and move on. I have been an Airframe Engineer for both companies in the past and I believe that Airbus has the better product. (Yes, I'm American, just not an ignorant one).


Jon and other naysayers....here is why the protest is going forward...

Boeing Response to Press Reports Regarding KC-X:

Following the Air Force’s KC-X decision announcement, press articles have appeared quoting aerospace experts who purport to have insights into why the KC-767 was not chosen. These articles allege that “Northrop Grumman's victory was not a close outcome” and that “Boeing didn't manage to beat Northrop in a single measure of merit.”
Nothing could be further from the truth.

Factor 1 -- Mission Capability
• Boeing scored “Blue (Exceptional) and Low Risk” in this area – the highest possible rating in the most critical “factor” in this competition
• The Air Force assessed Boeing as meeting or exceeding all Key Performance Parameters (thresholds and objectives)
• Indeed, the Air Force evaluated Boeing as having significantly more strengths (discriminators) than the competitor

Therefore, it follows that Boeing 1) received the highest rating possible, 2) met or exceeded all KPP thresholds and objectives, and 3) was graded as having significantly more strengths than the competition.

Factor 2 -- Proposal Risk
• Boeing’s proposal risk was rated “Low”
• Surprisingly, the competitor was also rated as low despite the high risk associated with its evolving multi-country, multi-facility, multi-build approach as contrasted with Boeing’s integrated approach to design, build, and certification in existing facilities with experienced personnel

Therefore, it follows that Boeing 1) was low risk, 2) had an integrated and lean build approach, and 3) the competition should have been assessed greater risk for its complex and unproven multi-country build approach.

Factor 3 -- Past Performance
• Boeing’s past performance was rated “Satisfactory”
• Northrop Grumman/Airbus was also rated satisfactory, despite having no relevant tanker experience and having never delivered a tanker with a refueling boom
• Press reports indicate that some of the most relevant programs for Airbus (the KC-30 for Australia and the A-400M) are both significantly over cost and behind schedule

Therefore, it follows that Boeing 1) had satisfactory past performance, and 2) relevant Airbus programs like the Australian KC-30 tanker and the A-400M are struggling.

Factor 4 -- Cost/Price
• As determined by the RFP, “Most Probable Life Cycle Cost” (MPLCC) was the only measure of cost to be assessed
• The Air Force described the cost visibility information Boeing provided as “unprecedented” and rated Boeing’s MPLCC cost “Reasonable,” “Balanced,” and meeting “Realism” criteria – all the highest ratings a competitor can receive
• As recognized by the Air Force itself in 2002, the significantly bigger A-330 would demand a greater infrastructure investment with dramatically lower operational effectiveness

Therefore, it follows that 1) Boeing’s MPLCC was judged by the Air Force to be realistic,
2) Boeing’s submitted MPLCC were significantly lower than the Air Force adjusted MPLCC costs and, 3) the Air Force adjustments to Boeing MPLCC costs effectively deprived Boeing of the benefits associated with its integrated in-line production approach.

Factor 5 -- Integrated Assessment
• The model used by the Air Force to judge tanker “fleet effectiveness” was developed and is maintained by Northrop Grumman
• The mission scenarios and operational constraints to be used with the model issued in the draft RFP to judge tanker “fleet effectiveness,” were based upon the 2005 Air Mobility Command “Mobility Capabilities Study” (MCS).
• Before and after the RFP release, changes to the model’s parameters occurred so as to allow a “greater variety of aircraft to be considered” – in essence to allow larger aircraft to compete. However the Air Force promised that it would tie the numerical output of the model back to real-world constraints by weighing “insights and observations.”
• The inherent complexities of the model have made its results inconsistent and un-repeatable and its overall operational relevance questionable;

Therefore, 1) Northrop Grumman’s experience with the model was an inherent advantage,
2) changes were made to ensure Airbus’ larger aircraft worked in the model, but there is little evidence that the Air Force used “insights and observations” to tie the model back to real world operational constraints and 3) the model’s accuracy and relevance are debatable.

Boeing submitted a strong and extremely competitive proposal. In assessing the critical factor of Mission Capability, Boeing was given the highest ratings and evaluated by the Air Force as having significantly more strengths (discriminators) than Northrop Grumman/Airbus.

The Air Force modified the Northrop Grumman analytical model before and after issuance of the RFP to enable competition and to allow a larger tanker to compete.

In the end, the “leveling” of the competition and subjective assessments of the two proposals seems to have led the Air Force to select a larger, more expensive and operationally limited KC-30 tanker despite the fact that both Air Force requirements and the KC-X RFP call for a medium-sized tanker to replace the

Douglas Laurell (Anchorage, Alaska):

Hey folks - get real.

On the issue of American vs. European airplanes, I keep reading posts asking: "What car is in the parking lot or garage." The answer is two fold:

1) A Ford truck. 2) Whats in the parking lot in no way involves national defense or security.
Whether or not someone buys a foreign car, doesn't affect national security - it does effect national economy.

Lets agree both are issues: Should we protect the national security with reliable American products or not? Products that we know won't be cut off or re-routed in time of crises or not?

Should we protect the national economy with $40 billion purchases? Cause its not just the spending of the contract dollars, consider the loss of tax revenue when the Boeing lines are shut down.

Does the military owe support to U.S. firms on it's purchases? Given the same price, quality, capability of product the answer if "of course".

While many of the primary facts have not been released as yet, there does seem to be some dispute on what the programs requirements were. They were published and Boeing built to that standard, meeting the stated requirements on the head. Then in the fourth quarter the requirements were modified?

That does seem hokey to me, and if true, the contract needs to be scrapped and investigated.

Heads should roll in the A.F. over changed requirements as well as in Boeing executive offices for not staying on top of exactly what they were looking for.

As for me, I'll continue to drive a ford, and I'll only book a flight on a airlines thats flying a 7x7.

No Airbus for our family. And no votes for senators and congressmen that support the contract going to foreign countries.

Vote with your wallet, vote every chance you get.

wonderdog (Washington):

First let me preface my statement;
I am a 20 year Employee of the Boeing Company.
I think that we make the best Aerospace products in the World. I like my Job, It has afforded me great opportunities that I would have not otherwise realized in another career.

I think that we have lost our way some how and that losing the Air Force Tanker deal is but a symptom of a much deeper problem that has plagued Boeing for some time. First it was the F22 then the ATF now the U.S. Government has once again omitted Boeing from one of its major Military contracts. Bad luck? I don't think so. For decades Boeing has been the major supplier of Military Aircraft for the U.S. Government. I think that we are reaping the fruits of those many years of Boeing arrogance and being the sole Military contractor for military Airplanes.

The Government has followed Boeing's lead along with much of American Industry and decided to sell the American worker and it's Industry down river forsaking all of it's negative impact on our economy. rather than deal with a bloated bureaucratic, and and let's face it a trouble ridden Industry. We can't even Build our own Planes in the time frame in which we promised our Customers to deliver it. Because we have removed a substantial amount of our control of said products to vendors, that can't deliver our products on time. But the company will vehemently stand behind this decision of outsourcing our Airplanes in the name of Global community, and lean Manufacturing principles. In other words because the Stock holder demands it. I'm a stock holder and I don't remember ever telling them this. This philosophy will come full circle and I hope that it does not erode the legacy and the commitment of all Boeing Employees the World over because a few Harvard graduates read in a macro Economics book, that this is how it should be.

Roy Slongo (Michigan ):

Please read your newspapers and watch the news on TV regarding Boeing Corp. losing out to a French Co. (Airbus) on this multi billion dollar contract. Our government is allowing the air force to award multi billion dollar contracts to companies who reside in countries that do not even support us during times of war.

( What have the French ever done for the USA?) America stands to lose 44,000 jobs. Why are American politicians allowing this? We all live in southern Michigan and our Senator Levin, wants to wait for 100 days for the GAO to make there ruling. I believe he should be outraged and leading the fight to have this contract voided. I also belive that no defense bids should be allowed to companies who reside in countries that do not support us in times of war such as France.

If you believe as I do, please forward this to your friends and relatives. Also make sure to follow the outcome and to vote accordingly when the time comes to support our current politicians.

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