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US military's tanker deal: a saga without end
Agence France Presse (AFP) ^ | Jan 23, 2011

Posted on 01/23/2011 11:10:05 AM PST by sukhoi-30mki

US military's tanker deal: a saga without end

Sun, Jan 23, 2011

AFP

WASHINGTON - The battle between aerospace giants Boeing and EADS to supply new aerial refueling tankers for the US Air Force could drag on even after the military finally makes a decision on the contract, experts say.

For the past decade, the Pentagon has struggled to launch a new fleet of refueling aircraft to replace the old KC-135 workhorses that date back to the 1950s, but the effort has been marred by scandal and bitter feuds.

Two previous attempts to move ahead with a new tanker were cancelled, first with Boeing and then with EADS and its US partner Northrop Grumman.

The Pentagon hopes a decision on the $35 billion deal - expected sometime in February or March - will settle the issue once and for all. But nothing is guaranteed given the high stakes and "failure is an option," said Richard Aboulafia, a defense analyst with the Teal Group.

"Nothing can ever get done because it is the most partisan defense contract in history," he told AFP.

"Boeing and EADS have allied themselves with politicians who absolutely are not going to let this rest."

Chicago-based Boeing, which is offering a military version of the 767 aircraft, can count on solid support from Democrats in Congress, while the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company has strong backing from Republicans, including lawmakers from Alabama, where the firm plans to build a plant to construct the tanker based on its A330 aircraft.

The issue has become "very politicized," said Loren Thompson, chief operating officer of the Lexington Institute, which receives funding from defense contractors.

Thompson said he expected the Pentagon to issue the long-awaited decision in March but that "

(Excerpt) Read more at news.asiaone.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Extended News; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: aerospace; airbus; boeing; eads; kc767; kcx; tanker; usaf

1 posted on 01/23/2011 11:10:07 AM PST by sukhoi-30mki
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To: sukhoi-30mki

So in a nutshell,,,, the dems want to support fat union infested Boeing,,, and repubs prefer to outsource the project to a foreign company, willing to use a few locals to provide a veneer of domestic production?

We are so screwed.


2 posted on 01/23/2011 11:38:05 AM PST by DesertRhino (I was standing with a rifle, waiting for soviet paratroopers, but communists just ran for office)
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To: DesertRhino

Is there a third choice?


3 posted on 01/23/2011 12:37:06 PM PST by Blood of Tyrants (Islam is the religion of Satan and Mohammed was his minion.)
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To: Blood of Tyrants

“Is there a third choice?”
Convert all our aircraft to run on solar power? Or, gosh, outsource our defense to China. (Do I need the “/s”?)


4 posted on 01/23/2011 12:57:44 PM PST by Gen.Blather
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To: Blood of Tyrants
Is there a third choice?

About five years ago I recall seeing Northwest Airlines DC-10-40's that were being sent to retirement in Arizona, I assume they have since been scrapped. The RAF actually used retired VC-10 and L-1011 airliners from British Airways that were modified into tankers (probe and drogue, not with a boom). The IAF operates tankers that were modified from 707 airliners, and under the Shah Iran did the same thing. I think you have a certain number of airliners retired every year that have years of service left in them, in particular if assigned to reserve units. This would be an interim solution, and we have several companies in the US that are able to do this type of work, so the bidders would face competition

In the long run I would like to see a blended wing body aircraft purchased as a bomber/tanker, it would not be able to go "downtown" but it would be able to launch stand off missiles, perform aerial sea mining and such, in addition to serving as a tanker. We could have a two phase competition, one for the winning design, and another to produce the winning design.
5 posted on 01/23/2011 1:40:46 PM PST by fallujah-nuker (Annoy the RINO's, vote Republican)
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To: Blood of Tyrants
Is there a third choice?

Yes.

The Ilyushin Il-78, which is a Drogue and Probe system, not a Boom, but which could be modified. http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2661470/posts

6 posted on 01/23/2011 1:49:11 PM PST by PAR35
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To: sukhoi-30mki

Jeez, just build the dang thing. The oldest KC-135s will turn 56 years old this year.


7 posted on 01/23/2011 4:18:29 PM PST by Mr. Silverback (Anyone who says we need illegals to do the jobs Americans won't do has never watched "Dirty Jobs.")
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To: sukhoi-30mki

Jeez, just build the dang thing. The oldest KC-135s will turn 56 years old this year.


8 posted on 01/23/2011 4:18:29 PM PST by Mr. Silverback (Anyone who says we need illegals to do the jobs Americans won't do has never watched "Dirty Jobs.")
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