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Boeing Trying To Sell 767s To US Military

Tue Nov 13, 2001 9:38 pm

Boeing Lobbies Hill to Buy Converted 767s for Military

by Dan Morgan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 13, 2001; Page A05

Boeing Co., reeling from cutbacks in commercial aircraft orders since Sept. 11, has sent its top executives to lobby Congress for help in weathering the present economic difficulties by creating a multibillion market at the Pentagon for several of the company's most popular civilian aircraft.

If the aerospace company gets its way, a $317 billion defense bill pending in both houses would tap Boeing's 767 aircraft as the next generation of Air Force tanker, position the 767 to become the military's airborne surveillance platform of the future, and accelerate development of the company's 737 aircraft as the Pentagon's new aeromedical evacuation plane.

To achieve their objectives, Boeing's supporters on Capitol Hill must find a way around a budget impasse that is blocking a congressional agreement on the tanker deal, the central part of the package, according to sources.

Under a plan that has the support of top members of the Senate Appropriations Committee, the Air Force over the next decade would lease 100 converted 767s as part of a scheme to begin replacing the service's fleet of 136 aging KC-135E tankers -- the workhorses that have refueled combat aircraft fighting the war in Kosovo and the current Afghan conflict.

Backers devised the phased leasing idea to enable the Air Force to begin acquiring the planes quickly, while spreading out the annual costs and avoiding having to tap into the Pentagon's strained aircraft procurement budget.

But sources said the leasing plan, which would cost $16 billion to $20 billion through 2012, has run into strong objections from some officials at the Congressional Budget Office and at the House and Senate budget committees. They contend it is a ruse that adds to the long-term costs and violates a 1997 budget agreement.

"This would be a first," said G. William Hoagland, minority staff director on the Senate Budget Committee. "We've got to maintain some discipline. This just isn't the time to be adding in this way."

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), whose state's Grand Forks Air Force Base is one of several homes to the U.S. tanker fleet, has not pronounced a verdict on the leasing proposal.

Some congressional analysts said the smaller 757 might be a better candidate as the KC-135's replacement because it could fit into existing hangars.

Nonetheless, supporters of the plan are determined to press ahead.

"We're going to get the money and provide the money for leasing these aircraft," said Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) warned last week that "we could lose our ability to build planes in this country" if Boeing's production lines are not kept rolling.

Murray recently escorted Philip M. Condit, Boeing's chairman and CEO, to see Senate Majority Leader Thomas A. Daschle (D-S.D.) and Sen. Daniel K. Inouye (D-Hawaii), who chairs the defense subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee. Murray also took Alan R. Mulally, head of Boeing's Seattle-based commercial aircraft division, to a meeting with Conrad.

In the House, the key role is being played by Rep. Norman D. Dicks (D-Wash.), senior member of the Appropriations defense subcommittee.

Although the Pentagon has not requested funds for replacing the KC-135s, the Air Force has done so. Dicks said the Pentagon's fleet, made up of converted Boeing 707s and having a life span of 43 years, desperately needs replacement.

"This is another one of those situation where we're not doing the modernization that we need to do," he said.

In the House version of the pending defense bill, Dicks used his influence to add $150 million to demonstrate the feasibility of converting one 767 into a tanker. He added $190 million for a test of the 767 as a platform for the next generation of multipurpose airborne surveillance planes, replacing both AWACS and JSTARS, another airborne radar surveillance system.

The House Appropriations Committee is set to take final action on the defense bill today and is expected to send it to the House floor this week.

Boeing officials did not comment publicly, but Dicks said, "I've never seen them as interested in anything as this deal."

In the view of some defense experts, the interests of Boeing and the Pentagon may be dovetailing.

"The platforms are aging, and in many of these areas we're going to have to do something sooner or later," said Gordon Adams, a senior budget official in the Clinton administration who is director of a security studies program at George Washington University. "There's a large mission justification for moving those programs forward."

But under the complex politics of the defense budget, he noted, replacing tankers or airborne surveillance planes often takes a back seat at the Pentagon to pushing more futuristic fighter planes or stealth aircraft.

For Boeing, the stakes could not be higher, officials said. It has recently announced that, due to recession and falling orders, it was cutting a third of its 90,000 employees in the Puget Sound area of Washington state.

© 2001 The Washington Post Company

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RE: Boeing Trying To Sell 767s To US Military

Tue Nov 13, 2001 9:50 pm

"Boeing Trying To Sell 767s To US Military"


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RE: Boeing Trying To Sell 767s To US Military

Tue Nov 13, 2001 9:53 pm

Japan already uses the 767 for its AWACS
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RE: Boeing Trying To Sell 767s To US Military

Tue Nov 13, 2001 11:45 pm

I believe Italy has chosen the 767 for it's tanker needs, and the RAF is also considering ex-BA 767s.

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RE: Boeing Trying To Sell 767s To US Military

Wed Nov 14, 2001 1:35 am

Being selfish I would like to see a 767 used as a tanker. The 767 would look pretty "cool" and also keep Americans working. Perhaps Boeing will cut a excellent deal with the government for these planes. If the Air Force needs these planes to protect the USA then so be it. During these times of uncertainty our government should go forward and make the purchase. Even if the government decides on the 757 so be it, keep Americans working and Boeing strong.

Also who would provide tankers for the US? There is no way in hell Airbus would provide this aircraft so make the purchase today because the price in future could be far greater than it is today.

There is so much pork projects in the recents spending and economic stimulus packages in the last two months that buying these tankers should not even be a issue.

My two cents


RE: Boeing Trying To Sell 767s To US Military

Wed Nov 14, 2001 3:15 am

The USAF should have purchased 767-200ERs instead of 757-200s to be used as Air Force Two or to fly the Secretary of State and other US Gov't executives.
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RE: Boeing Trying To Sell 767s To US Military

Wed Nov 14, 2001 4:05 am

Boeing recently delivered the 1st of 2 763's to the Chinese govt for use as 'Sino Air Force One'.

I dumped at the gybe mark in strong winds when I looked up at a Porter Q400 on finals. Can't stop spotting.
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RE: Boeing Trying To Sell 767s To US Military

Wed Nov 14, 2001 4:13 am

To add to this story.

Aviaton Weekly is reporting that the USAF would like to pick up 4 767-400s that will be "available on the market" To start on a replacement for the E-8 J-STARs and RC-135 Joint Rivet.
Being that both Platforms have outgrown the 707 airframe.
Also the 767TT would be the -200ER

(I was suprised to see it being the 200 and 400 and not the 300 for both platforms)

P.S. Republic next time post stuff like this in the Military Forum.
We don't get much in there, and every little bit helps

RE: Boeing Trying To Sell 767s To US Military

Wed Nov 14, 2001 4:30 am

In all the Airbus vs Boeing threads, some American always pops up with how Europe's governments provide subsidies to Airbus. Here you have a clear example of the US providing yet more subsidies for Boeing.

With the price of a used 767 as low as US$8m, how on earth do they manage to get to $150m as a tanker (a straightforward conversion that Marshalls Aerospace of Cambridge, US has bid the UK MoD US$25m on, including zero-timing the airframes!) Marshalls did the L15 conversions for the RAF.

Perhaps instead of going to Boeing with their $200 lightbulbs and $1,000 toilet seats, they should come to the UK - where they can get a much better quality job in the first place.
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RE: Boeing Trying To Sell 767s To US Military

Wed Nov 14, 2001 4:31 am

What about the existing KC-10 Extenders, they are only about 12-15 years old, how do they perform in the aerial refueling role? Its seems like if cost were the concern, the MD-10 conversion to a TANKER would produce an aircraft with MORE range, MORE capacity for fuel and the true ability to act as a tanker and cargo/troop transport at the same time like the RAF L1011s. There are lots of recently parked DC-10s out there that could be candidates for this program.

As I have said before, a fully loaded 767-300 can hardly get of the ground, I would love to see one with a heavier load of fuel try! Just 3 weeks ago I was on a Delta 767-300 taking off from SLC bound for Anchorage which is a 4 hr 20 minute flight. We took up every bit of the runway and after take-off the captain came on an said that we were quite heavy and lifted off at 190 mph, almost 9500 ft down the runway! YIKES!
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RE: Boeing Trying To Sell 767s To US Military

Wed Nov 14, 2001 5:52 am


Have you ever had an American pop up and complain about subsidies to Airbus about the Eurofighter or the A400M? The American taxpayer at least gets a lightbulb and a toilet seat, which is more than the European taxpayer gets for the commerical subsidies to
Airbus. When the US starts giving away dollars for commerical applications to Boeing, then expect us Americans to shut up about subsidies cause then we will be on a level field.

And unless you can post some information which you have not done, then its just your opinion that whatever Aerospace does a better job.
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RE: Boeing Trying To Sell 767s To US Military

Wed Nov 14, 2001 6:24 am

Ceilidh - "much better quality job in the first place"

Should I cite the Comet I as your first example? That was MUCH better than the 707 or DC-8. Hell, even the Avro JetLiner was an improvement!
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RE: Boeing Trying To Sell 767s To US Military

Wed Nov 14, 2001 7:39 pm

Woodsboy...I have done Dallas to Frankfurt non-stop on a 767. ANC-SLC should be a walk in the park.

Ceilidh......Besides the Comet 1. I should point out that Austin-Healy and Jaguar only recently started building decent automobilies again after FORD bought them. Lets face it, there are just some years of Jags, that are better avoided.

Besides, we have that great institution of British Moter Madness. NAPIER....

Who else would take 24 cylinders to produce a lousy 2000hp. I can't remember the name of that other engine that took that 24 cylinder wonder and piggybacked it on a turbojet engine that reburned the exhaust form the piston section. Both drove the prop through a gearbox. There are reasons that one didn't go into service.

I haven't even gotten to the weird stuff like the Napier DELTEC Marine and Locomotive engines yet.

Those things are just scary. This isn't a stab at the Brits but you guys have some engineers who must be on "CRACK!"

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