T773ER
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Northrup Grumman May Forgo Tanker Bid

Tue Jan 09, 2007 6:25 am

Northrup Grumman may forgo US Air Force tanker deal bid against Boeing - report

LONDON (AFX) - Northrop Grumman Corp is threatening to shun a competition against Boeing Co for aerial-refueling planes because of concerns over the bidding rules, reported Wall Street Journal citing sources familiar with the matter.

The paper said Northrop officials have hinted for months about quitting the race for the decades-long program, valued at 100 bln usd or more, if they don't think it has a fair shot of winning.

Late last week, Northrop officially warned the Air Force in writing that it may not bid, WSJ said citing people familiar with the matter.

These people said Northrop officials believe draft bidding guidelines effectively favour Boeing (nyse: BA - news - people )'s less-expensive refueling plane because they don't lay out detailed criteria for how the Air Force will evaluate extra capabilities, such as cargo and passenger capacity, that Northrop's proposed airplane offers.

The program, which is critical to restoring the Air Force's credibility, likely would be delayed if Northrop withdrew, the paper said.

It also would increase already intense political scrutiny over any Air Force attempt to award a contract to a single bidder, particularly Boeing, which once held, then lost a similar contract for which it was the sole bidder.

The paper said Northrop isn't expected to make a decision about withdrawing until after the Air Force issues the final bidding document, which could be as early as next week.

Northrop spokesman Randy Belote declined to comment to WSJ on the company's latest correspondence with the Air Force.

He said Northrop has 'been consistent in its call for a capabilities-based acquisition strategy for the recapitalization of the aging tanker fleet.'

He added that the new tanker program 'represents the Air Force's best opportunity to acquire a truly modern, multirole and multimission refueling aircraft.'

The paper reported that a Boeing spokesman said yesterday the company plans to bid for the tanker program regardless of what rules the Air Force sets.

This will make things even more interesting!

[Edited 2007-01-08 22:26:08]
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AirRyan
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RE: Northrup Grumman May Forgo Tanker Bid

Tue Jan 09, 2007 9:47 am

Sounds fine to me - no one wants to compete in a race that has already been fixed. The USAF is just scared that they might have to buy the KC-30 because it's a better platform than the KC-767.
 
Spacepope
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RE: Northrup Grumman May Forgo Tanker Bid

Tue Jan 09, 2007 10:39 am

Who is this Northrup company. I've never heard of them.
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echster
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RE: Northrup Grumman May Forgo Tanker Bid

Tue Jan 09, 2007 11:09 am

Yawn!!! Pure posturing, IMHO. They're gonna bid irregardless. If you were running Airbus or Boeing, would you leave $100 billion on the table by not even bidding for a piece of the pie?
 
T773ER
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RE: Northrup Grumman May Forgo Tanker Bid

Tue Jan 09, 2007 12:36 pm

Quoting Spacepope (Reply 2):
Who is this Northrup company. I've never heard of them.

I assume you are being serious. They are a major defense company in the US, in fact they are the third largest behind Lockheed and Boeing. They build our aircraft carries among other things.
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RE: Northrup Grumman May Forgo Tanker Bid

Tue Jan 09, 2007 12:39 pm

Quoting T773ER (Reply 4):
I assume you are being serious. They are a major defense company in the US, in fact they are the third largest behind Lockheed and Boeing. They build our aircraft carries among other things.

Yes and no to his seriousnes...

you misspelled Northrop Grumman. And they build our Aircraft Carriers.  Wink

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Stitch
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RE: Northrup Grumman May Forgo Tanker Bid

Wed Jan 10, 2007 1:11 am

The KC-30 is a more flexible platform then the KC-767 thanks to it's larger size and more powerful engines. However, it's also more expensive so NG/EADS want to make sure that this decision is not driven on price alone, which is how US military contracts are awarded (at least in the past).

Also, NG/EADS has to worry that if capability is a major criteria, Boeing can offer the KC-777 which will "show-up" a KC-30 even more then the KC-30 "shows up" a KC-767.

Also, the USAF is keen to have a plane with a "tarmac/hangar footprint" no larger then the KC-135. The KC-767 fits this footprint, evidently, but I am not sure how well the KC-30 does. The KC-777, obviously, isn't going to fit, but if the KC-30 is too large, then this desire might be dismissed.

Also, the USAF is considering both a KC-135 and KC-10 replacement program. Boeing can meet this much earlier (with the KC-767 and KC-777) then Airbus can (since Airbus needs to wait for the A350X-900 to EIS in 2015 and then come up with slot availability).

So while I imagine NG/EADS are a bit skittish on their ability to meet all of the USAF's possible RFP permutations compared to how Boeing can do so and therefore are doing a little "public bleating" to try and get the RFP better-tailored to play to their specific strengths.
 
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RE: Northrup Grumman May Forgo Tanker Bid

Wed Jan 10, 2007 3:07 am

How much of this is also preventative positioning for a bid protest once the award has been made? Get something they can fall back on in the RFP to give them a strong challenge should the seemingly inevitable happen and Boeing wins the bid (again). Just a thought...
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RE: Northrup Grumman May Forgo Tanker Bid

Wed Jan 10, 2007 4:04 am

Quoting AirRyan (Reply 1):
The USAF is just scared that they might have to buy the KC-30 because it's a better platform than the KC-767.



Quoting Stitch (Reply 6):
The KC-30 is a more flexible platform then the KC-767 thanks to it's larger size and more powerful engines.

Both of those remarks concern me, because the KC-30 is a paper airplane. It has not been built, hell it has not even been designed. So how could you two guys make those remarks? Don't give me any "the RAAF A-330MRTT is flying", either. That airplane is totally different than what Airbus is proposing for the USAF KC-30. Perhaps that is why the RAAF airplane is referred to as the KC-33A. The RAF A-330TT is even less capable than the KC-33.

Comparing the paper KC-30 to the actually flying (not exact, but close to what the USAF will get, if selected) KC-767 is like comparing Di Vincie's drawings of flying machines to the Wright Flyer. One worked, the other has not been tried, yet.

Don't get me wrong on this, the proposed tanker versions of the B-747-800F, B-777-200F, or B-787-800 are also in the same catagory as the A-330-200 is. They are all paper airplanes.

Out of all proposed airplane, for the new USAF tanker program, only two have flying examples, the KC-135R (the proposed KC-135E upgrade), and the Italian AF and JSDAF KC-767A.
 
T773ER
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RE: Northrup Grumman May Forgo Tanker Bid

Wed Jan 10, 2007 5:43 am

Sorry about the misspelling, I copied it directly from Forbes website and as you can see it was misspelled.

http://www.forbes.com/afxnewslimited...eds/afx/2007/01/08/afx3308694.html
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Stitch
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RE: Northrup Grumman May Forgo Tanker Bid

Wed Jan 10, 2007 5:46 am

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 8):
Both of those remarks concern me, because the KC-30 is a paper airplane. It has not been built, hell it has not even been designed. So how could you two guys make those remarks?

In my case, the A330 just offers more raw square footage to put stuff in, be it cargo, fuel, sensors, or whathaveyou. And while it might be different from the A330TT and A330MRTT, it's going to draw at least a bit from those programs, just as the KC-767 drew from the E-767 AWACS and the original MC2A program...
 
AirRyan
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RE: Northrup Grumman May Forgo Tanker Bid

Wed Jan 10, 2007 9:06 am

Quoting Stitch (Reply 6):
Also, the USAF is keen to have a plane with a "tarmac/hangar footprint" no larger then the KC-135. The KC-767 fits this footprint, evidently, but I am not sure how well the KC-30 does. The KC-777, obviously, isn't going to fit, but if the KC-30 is too large, then this desire might be dismissed.

I see that as nothing more than sheer posturing by the USAF to select the aircraft they want (Boeing) and not have to go with Airbus. We're talking "ramp" space, not "hangar" space - that's not a significant obstacle.

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 8):
Both of those remarks concern me, because the KC-30 is a paper airplane. It has not been built, hell it has not even been designed. So how could you two guys make those remarks? Don't give me any "the RAAF A-330MRTT is flying", either. That airplane is totally different than what Airbus is proposing for the USAF KC-30. Perhaps that is why the RAAF airplane is referred to as the KC-33A. The RAF A-330TT is even less capable than the KC-33.

Comparing the paper KC-30 to the actually flying (not exact, but close to what the USAF will get, if selected) KC-767 is like comparing Di Vincie's drawings of flying machines to the Wright Flyer. One worked, the other has not been tried, yet.

Again, we're talking about a "tanker" here - the only hard part is putting the boom on a new aircraft and something tells me that if Airbus can get the A-380 to fly, they can probably figure that out, too. The A-330 is simply a better airplane the 767 but hey, it's what 20 years newer technology, right?

While I still prefer Boeing I'm an adament proponnet that our military should get the best and most modern product available, especially considering that these aircraft will likely see 50 years plus service life. I'd like to see KC-30's and KC-777's win this deal, I'm just not a big fan of the 767 some 25 years after it initially entered service.
 
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RE: Northrup Grumman May Forgo Tanker Bid

Wed Jan 10, 2007 9:52 am

Quoting AirRyan (Reply 11):
Again, we're talking about a "tanker" here - the only hard part is putting the boom on a new aircraft and something tells me that if Airbus can get the A-380 to fly, they can probably figure that out, too.

its being tested as we speak for the A330MRTT. http://www.flug-revue.rotor.com/FRNews1/FRNews06/FR060409.htm

does the USAF requirement include a pod/drogue also to tank marine, navy, coalition planes? if so its interesting to note that one reason the Aussies gave for going with the A330 was that they felt it was far easier for Airbus to develop a boom for the A330 than Boeing to develop a pod/hose/drogue system for the 767 as the A330 being related to the A340 has the wing strengthening and plumbing already.
 
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RE: Northrup Grumman May Forgo Tanker Bid

Wed Jan 10, 2007 4:59 pm

Quoting Trex8 (Reply 12):
as the A330 being related to the A340 has the wing strengthening and plumbing already.

Sorry, that's a bit of a myth. The wings are the same shape but the A330 wing is different inside. It is not as strong as an A340 wing because it doesn't need to be and does not have the extra plumbing because that would be un-necessary weight.

The A330 wing does need strenghtening around the Rib 26 area but is no big deal.

Airbus have built a large test rig for the boom at their plant in Madrid and it is already fitted to an A310 development aircraft. It is unlikely to be a problem for the KC-30.
 
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RE: Northrup Grumman May Forgo Tanker Bid

Thu Jan 11, 2007 12:39 am

Quoting AirRyan (Reply 11):
Again, we're talking about a "tanker" here - the only hard part is putting the boom on a new aircraft and something tells me that if Airbus can get the A-380 to fly, they can probably figure that out, too. The A-330 is simply a better airplane the 767 but hey, it's what 20 years newer technology, right?

Building a tanker (as defined by the USAF, not other nation's Air Forces) is a lot more complicated simply slaping a boom onto an airplane. The fuel system is completely different, and because of body tanks, where cargo compartments are in the lower sections, the fuselarge must be stiffer and much stronger. This requires longitudial strenghting. The hydraulic systems need to be expanded and changed, not only for the boom, but the hydraulicly driven fuel pumps in the body tanks to deliver the fuel to the receiver. Then there is the additional avionics needed for rondevous equipment, cargo handling equipment, etc., etc., etc.

Quoting Trex8 (Reply 12):
does the USAF requirement include a pod/drogue also to tank marine, navy, coalition planes? if so its interesting to note that one reason the Aussies gave for going with the A330 was that they felt it was far easier for Airbus to develop a boom for the A330 than Boeing to develop a pod/hose/drogue system for the 767 as the A330 being related to the A340 has the wing strengthening and plumbing already.

Yes, the new tanker will have, at least under wing refueling pods, and may also have a centerline hose reel system (like the KC-10) for probe and drogue refueling.

The RAAF KC-33A is being built with the A-340 wing, not the standard A-330 wing the RAF A-330TT is getting. Oz did this because the refueling pods they selected are bigger and heavier than those for the British tanker. This gives the RAAF a faster refueling flow over the RAF refueling flow. It also reduced the amount of internal wing engineering required, because the A-340 wing already had the required strenght and plumbing.
 
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RE: Northrup Grumman May Forgo Tanker Bid

Sun Jan 14, 2007 1:28 am

Another thing that peeves me about the KC-767 program is that after all of the initial buys by Japan and Italy were designed around GE engines, Boeing than goes to declare that P&W will henceforth and exclusively power any future and thereby any USAF KC-767's. What a crock, that just crys foul to me!
 
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Stitch
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RE: Northrup Grumman May Forgo Tanker Bid

Sun Jan 14, 2007 7:10 am

Quoting AirRyan (Reply 15):
Another thing that peeves me about the KC-767 program is that after all of the initial buys by Japan and Italy were designed around GE engines, Boeing than goes to declare that P&W will henceforth and exclusively power any future and thereby any USAF KC-767's. What a crock, that just cries foul to me!

Well P&W and the USAF have a very long history together...
 
trex8
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RE: Northrup Grumman May Forgo Tanker Bid

Sun Jan 14, 2007 11:22 am

Quoting AirRyan (Reply 15):
Boeing than goes to declare that P&W will henceforth and exclusively power any future and thereby any USAF KC-767's. What a crock, that just crys foul to me!

why would they do that?
 
AirRyan
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RE: Northrup Grumman May Forgo Tanker Bid

Mon Jan 15, 2007 8:51 am

Quoting Trex8 (Reply 17):
Quoting AirRyan (Reply 15):
Boeing than goes to declare that P&W will henceforth and exclusively power any future and thereby any USAF KC-767's. What a crock, that just crys foul to me!

why would they do that?

I cannot remember offhand but I thought there was a recent deal with Boeing that went GE's way and this was more or less an appeasment to P&W so they too could have something to keep them fat and happy.

Quoting Stitch (Reply 16):
Well P&W and the USAF have a very long history together...

As with GE, too!
 
JayinKitsap
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RE: Northrup Grumman May Forgo Tanker Bid

Mon Jan 15, 2007 2:14 pm

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 14):
Building a tanker (as defined by the USAF, not other nation's Air Forces) is a lot more complicated simply slaping a boom onto an airplane. The fuel system is completely different, and because of body tanks, where cargo compartments are in the lower sections, the fuselarge must be stiffer and much stronger. This requires longitudial strenghting. The hydraulic systems need to be expanded and changed, not only for the boom, but the hydraulicly driven fuel pumps in the body tanks to deliver the fuel to the receiver. Then there is the additional avionics needed for rondevous equipment, cargo handling equipment, etc., etc., etc.

I have a question for you, is not having fly by wire in a tanker an advantage or disadvantage. With so much fuel aboard and the pumps, flex hoses, etc I would think the fewer electrical lines and devices the better.

Regarding the footprint, most tankers I believe are parked outside but do get serviced in hangers. If all of the bases that see tankers need larger hangers or there are more planes needing the existing large hangers, that can be a huge capital expense. I would guess $25M per hanger.

Would putting new engines like the GE Next Gen on the 767 improve the flight distance or allow for a higher MTOW. Between that and a modern avionics system I don't see what difference an older frame also poses.

I personally feel that a properly designed KC-767 would be a much more tried and true piece of equipment. The last thing we need is something that needs to be tweaked or debugged for years and year.

Anyway, I enjoy all of your posts regarding this and other topics.
 
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kc135topboom
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RE: Northrup Grumman May Forgo Tanker Bid

Mon Jan 15, 2007 3:27 pm

Quoting AirRyan (Reply 15):
Boeing than goes to declare that P&W will henceforth and exclusively power any future and thereby any USAF KC-767's

Boeing didn't select the P&W engines, the USAF specified them, for the KC-767 that was originally offered in 2002. That may not be the case any more.
 
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RE: Northrup Grumman May Forgo Tanker Bid

Mon Jan 15, 2007 4:19 pm

Quoting JayinKitsap (Reply 19):
I have a question for you, is not having fly by wire in a tanker an advantage or disadvantage. With so much fuel aboard and the pumps, flex hoses, etc I would think the fewer electrical lines and devices the better.

A FBW would weigh less than having cables and pullies for the flight and boom controls, there is no doubt about that. I would think the technoligy of the FBW servos and controls would be EM/EMP protected, and not be a problem with the fuel system or fuel transfer systems. FBW systems may be selected for the new tanker. The A-330 does have them, as well as the proposed Airbus Boom. IIRC, the B-767 uses slightly older technoligy, not a full FBW system, but the new proposed Boeing Boom also has FBW technoligy.

OTOH, the B-777 is a full FBW airplane, like the A-330.
 
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Revelation
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RE: Northrup Grumman May Forgo Tanker Bid

Wed Jan 17, 2007 1:50 am

Quoting T773ER (Thread starter):
These people said Northrop officials believe draft bidding guidelines effectively favour Boeing (nyse: BA - news - people )'s less-expensive refueling plane because they don't lay out detailed criteria for how the Air Force will evaluate extra capabilities, such as cargo and passenger capacity, that Northrop's proposed airplane offers.

Let's see: NG is upset that the USAF is not specifying detailed criteria for extra capabilities? How far should USAF go in specifying things not in the specification?  Smile
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keesje
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RE: Northrup Grumman May Forgo Tanker Bid

Wed Jan 17, 2007 2:05 am

Quoting Revelation (Reply 22):
Let's see: NG is upset that the USAF is not specifying detailed criteria for extra capabilities? How far should USAF go in specifying things not in the specification?

Specifying exactly what they want (more, further, multi) started the trouble last time; the wrong aircraft came out.

A new tactic could be not saying what you want not risking getting in trouble again, however todays news:

U.S. Sen. John McCain on Monday repeated his call for a fair and open competition to build the U.S. Air Force's next-generation fleet of aerial refueling tankers, saying the service must attract at least two bids for the contract or face congressional hearings.

The Arizona Republican, who was in Montgomery as a guest at Gov. Bob Riley's inauguration, said he was concerned that ongoing complaints about the Air Force's bidding criteria could prompt Northrop Grumman Corp. to drop its bid for the tanker contract against rival Boeing Co.
http://www.al.com/news/mobileregiste...e/news/1168942624185840.xml&coll=3

"a fair and open competition" isn't that what we all want..

no?
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RE: Northrup Grumman May Forgo Tanker Bid

Wed Jan 17, 2007 9:43 pm

Quoting Keesje (Reply 23):
"a fair and open competition" isn't that what we all want..

As long as it produces the best plane for the job, yes. If NG realizes their plane will not be the best plane for the job, then I have no problem with them choosing not to submit it.
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RE: Northrup Grumman May Forgo Tanker Bid

Thu Jan 18, 2007 6:51 am

Quoting Keesje (Reply 23):
"a fair and open competition" isn't that what we all want..

no?

Keesje, my good friend, (Sincerely meant) I've read enough of your posts to know that a fair competition isn't what you really want. You want the US Air Force to pick the KC-30. If the Northrup puts up the KC-30 against Boeing's offering of two differing capacity aircraft, namely the KC-777 and KC-767, there is no way the competition would be "fair" based on your criteria, nor Northrop/EADS' criteria, for that matter.
Quoting Sentor McCain is interesting at best, but he's in the minority now, and the Democrats are firmly backing Boeing. And I say this as a registered Republican!
Look, whatever NG/EADS' offer, Boeing will up the ante. This contract is too important for them, and I think the people at Northrop realize that. I also believe that NG are not as confident in EADS as they were when they first signed the contract with them. Remember, EADS had much a different management team then, and were in a much different financial situation then they are today.
Call it what you will, but the tankers will be built in Washington, not Toulouse.
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Acheron
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RE: Northrup Grumman May Forgo Tanker Bid

Thu Jan 18, 2007 10:18 am

Quoting USAF336TFS (Reply 25):

Then why should Northrop bother going on, other than to make things appear clear and save face?.
 
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Stitch
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RE: Northrup Grumman May Forgo Tanker Bid

Fri Jan 19, 2007 7:37 am

Quoting Acheron (Reply 26):
Then why should Northrop bother going on, other than to make things appear clear and save face?.

To earn brownie points for the next DOD contract they face across from Boeing on.

Since NG is just the systems integrator, working on A332F airframes assembled in TLS and flown in, their share of the contract dollars are probably pretty weak in comparison to EADS'.

Therefore, NG is better off "fighting the good fight" and losing to Boeing, at which point they then have a "favor chit" they can call upon for a future contract where they stand to make a good deal more money on.
 
halls120
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RE: Northrup Grumman May Forgo Tanker Bid

Fri Jan 19, 2007 12:54 pm

Quoting Keesje (Reply 23):
"a fair and open competition" isn't that what we all want..

 rotfl  You are kidding, right?

We're talking taxpayer dollars here, not a private airline company. military procurement contracts will never be solely based on pure competition.

For you to suggest otherwise is simply not an informed opinion.
"Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself." Mark Twain, a Biography
 
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RE: Northrup Grumman May Forgo Tanker Bid

Fri Jan 19, 2007 1:21 pm

Quoting Keesje (Reply 23):
"a fair and open competition" isn't that what we all want..

no?

Not you Kessje. Besides how in Pete's Sake is Airbus going to do a KC-30, a A332F, and give away the A333 to give the false appearance that the 380 is still alive and well?

Forget the KC-30. Continue the plans for the assembly facility in Alabama. Just build the A400 there. You'll then be able to expand and challenge Boeing in their back yard.

But alas, this requires a risky decision. Not a Airbus strength.  checkeredflag 
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saintsman
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RE: Northrup Grumman May Forgo Tanker Bid

Fri Jan 19, 2007 4:55 pm

Quoting Glideslope (Reply 29):
Besides how in Pete's Sake is Airbus going to do a KC-30, a A332F, and give away the A333 to give the false appearance that the 380 is still alive and well?

The KC-30 is an EADS project not Airbus. Airbus will make the airframe which to them is just another aircraft off the production line, so its no big deal.

Design and first KC-30 prototype will be done in Spain.
 
Lumberton
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RE: Northrup Grumman May Forgo Tanker Bid

Fri Jan 19, 2007 7:41 pm

Businessweek is reporting that NG is preparing to throw in the towel.

http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/...news+index_businessweek+exclusives

Quote:
A key closed-door meeting headed by Kenneth Krieg, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology & Logistics, backed the Air Force's decision to not include any of Northrop's suggested changes to the draft proposal, say people familiar with the meeting. The Pentagon is now expected to sign off on the final proposal by the end of the day on Jan. 19 and release it publicly next week. "They're not going to make any further changes to the RFP [request for proposal]," says a government official familiar with the negotiations. "The Air Force is telling us that they've made a good-faith effort to address all the concerns of Northrop Grumman. But at the end of the day, they can't have competition for competition's sake."
"When all is said and done, more will be said than done".
 
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RE: Northrup Grumman May Forgo Tanker Bid

Fri Jan 19, 2007 10:40 pm

I think the Air Force made the right decision in this case. NG needs to remember it's the Air Force that's the customer, not them, not Senator McCain, not the Governor of Alabama. The USAF drafts the RFP. If Northrop wanted, they could easily sign a deal as a partner with Boeing, just as the have now with the F-18. They know how to design and construct their own aircraft and sub-assemblies. From the beginning this whole deal struck many of us as it was precieved... NG fronting for EADS. With some of the issues confronting EADS, I would think that this would not be high on their priority list.
If anyone here thinks that the US Air Force isn't paying any attention to the commercial side of the business, then I would suggest they're mistaken.
At this point, I'm sure they feel a bit more confident that Boeing has a better track record for delivering on promises. There is every indication that EADS will improve substantially over the next few years, as Power8 is implemented. I would also suggest that the folks at Northrop have considered that as well.

[Edited 2007-01-19 14:48:11]
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JayinKitsap
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RE: Northrup Grumman May Forgo Tanker Bid

Sat Jan 20, 2007 12:22 am

Does John McCain have sufficient clout now to have senate hearings? Does he really want to be basically a lobbyist for Airbus as he enters the presidential contest. Imagine how those Iowa farmers and John Deere workers will feel about lots of work paid by their taxes going to the EU.
 
Lumberton
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RE: Northrup Grumman May Forgo Tanker Bid

Sat Jan 20, 2007 12:58 am

Quoting JayinKitsap (Reply 33):
Does John McCain have sufficient clout now to have senate hearings? Does he really want to be basically a lobbyist for Airbus as he enters the presidential contest.

In answer to the first question: No. In answer to the second: No. I expect him to back off this whole thing. IMO, the USAF has treaded very carefully and done exceptional due diligence here. They are, after all, the customer.
"When all is said and done, more will be said than done".
 
keesje
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RE: Northrup Grumman May Forgo Tanker Bid

Sat Jan 20, 2007 1:04 am

I think the USAF should only ask both competitors for bids, and select the plane that gives them the most bang for its buck. But if it were that simple, a contract would already be awarded.

 Wink

Ollie is straight at least, not the window dressing, just buy american even if it's sub par. http://www.theconservativevoice.com/article/22132.html
"Never mistake motion for action." Ernest Hemingway
 
Lumberton
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RE: Northrup Grumman May Forgo Tanker Bid

Sat Jan 20, 2007 1:08 am

I thought about posting that link, Keesje, but I'm glad you did it instead!  Smile
Imagine Oliver North and the democratic majority in congress in agreement!
"When all is said and done, more will be said than done".
 
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USAF336TFS
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RE: Northrup Grumman May Forgo Tanker Bid

Sat Jan 20, 2007 1:28 am

Quoting Keesje (Reply 35):
Ollie is straight at least, not the window dressing, just buy american even if it's sub par.

I didn't read anywhere he said "sub-par". I think that's probably your opinion.  Smile

His reasoning is hard to argue with, and I'm sure, had the shoe been on the other foot; European NATO allies, with a potential HUGE aerial tanker buy, the arguments would be much the same... Wait! there is a similar case. The Brits bought the A-330TT didn't they? I'm sorry, but I missed all the outcry of "unfair competition".
336th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 4th Fighter Wing, Seymour Johnson AFB
 
keesje
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RE: Northrup Grumman May Forgo Tanker Bid

Sat Jan 20, 2007 2:37 am

Here's some back ground info, people easily forget stuff on the tanker circus lately.

The USAF indicated they wanted something more capable / multirole last year.

According to a draft request for proposal (RFP) the Air Force issued Monday, the government requires a tanker that can double as a troop carrier and supply plane.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/htm...nology/2003275629_777tanker26.html

Now the've obviously been told by someone to ... their requirements, close the lines and do what's right.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/art/news/business/links/tanker26.gif

But hey, it saves the 767 production line that has been on life support for years & the OEM that can use all the support it needs. And it sure is a proven design, it will soon be in service with the airlines for 25 years !
"Never mistake motion for action." Ernest Hemingway
 
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Stitch
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RE: Northrup Grumman May Forgo Tanker Bid

Sat Jan 20, 2007 10:15 am

Quoting Keesje (Reply 38):
The USAF indicated they wanted something more capable / multirole last year.

The trick is, that raises the cost and the complexity and often you end up with something that does a lot of things okay, but none of them really well. And that has come back to bite the Services on the bum more then once the past decade or two. So there is now a desire to just have something that does one thing darn good - go with the "specialist" instead of the "generalist". Especially now that defense budgets are robust and the cost pressures that drove "multi-capable platforms" is now lessened.

So a KC30 might be able to offer tanker, freighter, and "sensors" capabilities all in one package, but the USAF may feel they are better off with two 767s - one a dedicated tanker/freighter and one a dedicated "sensors" platform, each of which is more capable in it's role then the KC-30 in a mixed-role (where it has to give up fuel and cargo to sensors, yet can't fit as many sensors as a dedicated platform).

Quoting Keesje (Reply 38):
And it sure is a proven design, it will soon be in service with the airlines for 25 years!

And that fact is actually viewed as a plus, probably, by the USAF. Kind of a "we know what we're getting" view.


And when it comes to "fair and open" competition, I am sure folks can point to military RFP's all over the world where the "local choice" was picked even if it wasn't the best choice.
 
keesje
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RE: Northrup Grumman May Forgo Tanker Bid

Sat Jan 20, 2007 6:30 pm

Quoting Stitch (Reply 39):
So a KC30 might be able to offer tanker, freighter, and "sensors" capabilities all in one package, but the USAF may feel they are better off with two 767s - one a dedicated tanker/freighter and one a dedicated "sensors" platform, each of which is more capable in it's role then the KC-30 in a mixed-role (where it has to give up fuel and cargo to sensors, yet can't fit as many sensors as a dedicated platform).

Trying to confuse things? Who is talking sensors? not NG.

The KC30 can carry more fuel further then the KC767, without any additional fuel tanks, cargo/passenger/belly cargo deck intact.

Nothing complicated about that.
"Never mistake motion for action." Ernest Hemingway
 
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RE: Northrup Grumman May Forgo Tanker Bid

Sat Jan 20, 2007 10:00 pm

Quoting Keesje (Reply 40):
Trying to confuse things? Who is talking sensors? not NG.

The KC30 can carry more fuel further then the KC767, without any additional fuel tanks, cargo/passenger/belly cargo deck intact.

Nothing complicated about that.

The selected airplane will probibly morf into an eventual RC-135 replacement. Something the original C-135 design did very well. The USAF C-135 series morfed into 29 different missions and 32 different series, something unmatched by any other airframe in history.

Additionally, the belly cargo deck does not interest the USAF. They will want bady fuel tanks there. Can the KC-30 be strenghtened to take that load, and additional fuel? I think it can, but the KC-767A/J is already doing that.
 
norcal
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RE: Northrup Grumman May Forgo Tanker Bid

Sat Jan 20, 2007 11:07 pm

Quoting Keesje (Reply 40):
The KC30 can carry more fuel further then the KC767, without any additional fuel tanks, cargo/passenger/belly cargo deck intact.

It also costs $40 million more per frame meaning the USAF will get fewer. This is a serious issue because the USAF needs the ability to project a lot of power in multiple theatres. With fewer a/c you simply can't do this.

The KC-767 is the closest a/c to a KC-135.....what is the air force replacing.....KC-135s

Nothing complicated about that  Wink
 
AirRyan
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RE: Northrup Grumman May Forgo Tanker Bid

Sun Jan 21, 2007 1:18 am

Quoting NorCal (Reply 42):
Quoting Keesje (Reply 40):
The KC30 can carry more fuel further then the KC767, without any additional fuel tanks, cargo/passenger/belly cargo deck intact.

It also costs $40 million more per frame meaning the USAF will get fewer. This is a serious issue because the USAF needs the ability to project a lot of power in multiple theatres. With fewer a/c you simply can't do this.

The KC-767 is the closest a/c to a KC-135.....what is the air force replacing.....KC-135s

Nothing complicated about that

But lets see the cost-benefit analysis on the KC-30 vs. the KC-767 - in theory by your argument we would be better off with the KC-135 because it is even smaller and available in more quantity.

I think the KC-777 can replace the KC-10's whenever they need to be, but that for now unless its going to be a KC-787 the P&W powered USAF KC-767's are nothing but a 25 year old airframe that has lost in its entirety on the commercial front to the KC-30.

I think the KC-30 is the perfect compromise between the KC-767 and the KC-777: the KC-30's 250,000 lbs. fuel with 280 troops or 32 pallets is likely more cost effective throughout the entire length of service (projected at upwards of 50 years) than is the KC-767's 220,000 lbs fuel with only 200 troops and 19 pallets.

But lets face it - the USAF is custom tailoring the RFP for Boeing to the tune that NG will likely not even submit a bid and that just blows to each and every taxpayer and servicemember. I think a KC-787 would help give Boeing a great financial incentive to bringing the 787F to the market a lot quicker than it otherwise will as well, something that it will surely need to compete against the A-330F.

I want in order of preference a KC-787, KC-777, KC-30, or than the P&W USAF KC-767: i.e. it's the last one on my list!
 
norcal
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RE: Northrup Grumman May Forgo Tanker Bid

Sun Jan 21, 2007 3:49 am

Quoting AirRyan (Reply 43):
in theory by your argument we would be better off with the KC-135 because it is even smaller and available in more quantity

yeah converting some KC-135s to R models would be a very good idea. Some of those frames have a lot of time left in them. Obviously there are frames that need to be replaced because they have been around for a very long time, but getting the most out of the ones will still have is financially responsible for the taxpayer. This is a tanker, not an air-supremacy fighter, and it is not like the KC-30 is offering huge technological leaps. All it is offering is a bigger payload. The KC-767 will be based on a 25 year old design but they will still be new frames and able to carry on for a very long time.

Come wartime though those extra 80 troops or 13 pallets or 30,000lbs of fuel that the KC-30 can carry will mean jack sh*t if you need 40 more booms in the air. Anyways in a war we would be using C-117s and C-5s to carry our cargo and the civil air reserve fleet to carry our troops. No sense in wasting a tanker on one of those roles.

KC-767 and KC-135R are the most economical choice for the tax payers.
 
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Stitch
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RE: Northrup Grumman May Forgo Tanker Bid

Sun Jan 21, 2007 4:27 am

Quoting Keesje (Reply 40):
Trying to confuse things?

Honestly, no.

Quote:
Who is talking sensors? Not NG.

The USAF was, at least in some phases of the contract discussions. They were hoping to attach SARs (Synthetic Apeature Radars) and communications eavesdropping gear (ala the RC-135 family of planes) on the tanker to make them useful while they were flying to and from their tanking stations. They also hoped it might take some of the load of the E-8 JSTARS and E-3 Sentry platforms to allow them to concentrate on their specialties or service other areas of the battlefield.

It's one of the reasons a KC-787 wasn't all that well-received - there were concerns what cutting all those holes in the CFRP airframe to put the sensor blisters might do to the airframe itself.
 
TropicBird
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RE: Northrup Grumman May Forgo Tanker Bid

Sun Jan 21, 2007 12:41 pm

When you read the statements below, you will notice that the USAF has made what appears to be a 180 degree turn on the desired capabilities of the KC-X. Also, what is interesting are the statements at the bottom from two USAF generals advocating the need for a larger "strategic" tanker. But first, below we have the current USAF Secretary commenting just a few days ago about how they really only want a "tanker".

T/B

**********************************************************

(USAF Sec. Wynne 1/18/2007)

"We want to buy a tanker. We do not want to by 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."


**********************************************************


Someone needs remind the good Secretary that that is just what they had been asking for. When you read below, it seems clear that the USAF wanted a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) aircraft. Boeing and Airbus only make a passenger version or a cargo version of all their models. They don't make a tanker version. These KC-X tankers will be modifications to one or the other types. The statements below are excerpts from a complete article.

T/B



**********************************************************



New U.S. tanker must carry more than fuel, Wynne says
(December 1, 2005)

Competition for the contract to build a new aerial refueling tanker likely won't start until 2007 because the service wants a plane that can carry cargo, reconnaissance sensors and troops as well as fuel, Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne said today.

''I think 2006 is still going to be a development year,' Wynne said in an interview in his Pentagon office. ''Tankers are not only tankers any more. They are going to be multi-mission aircraft.'

Ken Miller, a member of the Senior Executive Service who for nine years managed overall operations for the Naval Air Systems Command, was named to the job Nov. 8. He will work with Air Force public affairs officials and other service agencies to ensure that even the most mundane steps of major acquisitions -- and especially the tanker program -- are disclosed and thoroughly explained, Wynne said.

''We will start telling people why we do things' in ''what we all consider a 'routine' procurement system,' Wynne said. ''Let's not have it be a secret. Let's tell people what we are doing and when we are doing it.'

Wynne said that, based on additional study, the Air Force now sees an expanded role for its tankers.

''There's lot of room to carry stuff,' Wynne said. ''A lot of airplanes we are considering -- whether big ones or small ones -- seem to have extra space.'

Wynne said the new plane would not be ''just a tanker replacement per se.' He added: ''Yes, we do want it to carry fuel and have people take fuel off, but it also means we want it to carry cargo and we want it to be a 'smarter' aircraft and carry a communications node if it does orbits over the world.'

''My guess is that things will be a little more evident in the spring,' he said. ''During 2006 we will be publishing what the schedule is -- so the competitors, the public, Congress see the program unfolding, there are no hidden agendas -- and, yes it's still a wide open competition.'


*********************************************************

Now to make things more confusing, we have selected comments from two USAF generals. Sounds to me like they want a "large" airframe for the next tanker.

T/B

*********************************************************

Jumper: Air Force needs more large tanker aircraft
(8/2005)

Gen. John Jumper, the U.S. Air Force chief of staff, said Aug. 9 that the service needs more large tanker aircraft like its KC-10 Extender, echoing comments made recently by another senior Air Force general.

The KC-135 Stratotanker has been the focus of the Air Force tanker debate over the past few years. But the KC-10 can carry twice as much cargo and fuel, potential advantages at a time when the U.S. military is frequently operating at great distances from the homeland and established overseas bases. In addition, the Air Force has more than 500 KC-135s but only 59 KC-10s.

"I would agree that the global situation that we're in today would argue for a larger percentage of the larger tankers," Jumper told The DAILY in an interview.

Gen. John Handy, commander of U.S. Transportation Command and the Air Force's Air Mobility Command, said a week earlier that "the need is more in the KC-10-like aircraft" (DAILY, Aug. 3).

Although the Air Force once pushed to replace its KC-135Es, the oldest of the KC-135s, with Boeing KC-767s, that plan stalled amid controversy over how the proposed deal was put together. The KC-767 proposal gave way to an analysis of alternatives (AOA), a broader review of the Air Force's tanker needs that is due to be completed later this month.

"We started this [debate] four years ago, and time has marched on," Jumper said. "So now I think it's time for us to broaden our focus to more than just the original 115 or so KC-135Es that we were trying to replace quickly."

Jumper said he believes the AOA will address the issue of large tankers versus smaller ones. The AOA is widely expected to endorse acquiring some sort of commercial derivative-type tanker, and DOD has pledged to hold a competition once the study identifies an "appropriate alternative" (DAILY, Nov. 23, 2004).

"We'll take that guidance and start to implement it as soon as we can," Jumper said.

The KC-767 and another commercial derivative, the Airbus KC-330, are seen as likely candidates in a competition to replace the KC-135. But the new interest in larger tankers could add other aircraft to the mix, including the Boeing 777.


********************************************************

U.S. Air Force needs more 'KC-10-like' tankers, general says
(8/2005)

While recent debate on U.S. Air Force refueling aircraft has focused on replacing the aging KC-135 Stratotanker, a general said Aug. 2 that the service also should look at supplementing its large-tanker fleet of KC-10 Extenders.

The Air Force has more than 500 Boeing KC-135s, including more than 400 of the newer R models, but only 59 KC-10s, each of which carries almost twice as much fuel as a KC-135. Gen. John Handy, commander of U.S. Transportation Command and the Air Force's Air Mobility Command, described the KC-10 as "our big, more strategic tanker" and the KC-135 as a "smaller, more tactical version."

"In my humble opinion, the greatest need is a little more strategic-capable aircraft because we do have the R-model 135 to last for many more years," Handy told The DAILY Aug. 2. "I'm saying that the need is more in the KC-10-like aircraft."

Handy said he also favors replacing the KC-135 fleet but would do that after acquiring more strategic tankers. He said "the nation doesn't have an unlimited supply of dollars, and so you have to sequence these acquisitions as best as you possibly can."

**********************************************************

Notice where Gen. Handy wants to buy a KC-135 replacement AFTER they acquire more strategic tankers (he means large). The USAF is conflicted by what they need and want. Gen. Handy does hit the nail on the head. They have plenty of tactical tankers (KC-135's) but need more of the larger ones.

T/B
 
AirRyan
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RE: Northrup Grumman May Forgo Tanker Bid

Mon Jan 22, 2007 10:51 am

Wow after reading those comments, I think the KC-777 is the new winner!
 
halls120
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RE: Northrup Grumman May Forgo Tanker Bid

Mon Jan 22, 2007 11:14 pm

Quoting Keesje (Reply 35):
I think the USAF should only ask both competitors for bids, and select the plane that gives them the most bang for its buck. But if it were that simple, a contract would already be awarded.

It isn't "that simple," because we are talking about taxpayer dollars being spent on a government procurement contract. You continued insistence in expecting a "fair and open competition" as if it were a private commerical contract is unrealistic.

Quoting Stitch (Reply 39):
And when it comes to "fair and open" competition, I am sure folks can point to military RFP's all over the world where the "local choice" was picked even if it wasn't the best choice.

Happens all the time - everywhere. Only in this case do our foreign friends ask the USG to "play fair" and not pick the "local choice."

Quoting NorCal (Reply 44):
Come wartime though those extra 80 troops or 13 pallets or 30,000lbs of fuel that the KC-30 can carry will mean jack sh*t if you need 40 more booms in the air.

Don't try to confuse this debate by injecting reality into it.  Wink
"Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself." Mark Twain, a Biography
 
keesje
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RE: Northrup Grumman May Forgo Tanker Bid

Tue Jan 23, 2007 1:59 am

Quoting Halls120 (Reply 48):
Don't try to confuse this debate by injecting reality into it

Reality is it's a better tanker too.. If it was the Boeing KC30 vs the NG KC767 the deal would have been sealed yrs ago.
"Never mistake motion for action." Ernest Hemingway

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