As noted last month, the European Aeronautic, Defense & Space Co. (EADS) consortium is making a big push to snatch the USAF tanker project suddenly up for grabs in the wake of monumental corruption within the Boeing 767 lease/buy plan.
According to Reuters, Congress won’t have anything to do with European tankers.
“It’s a non-starter to buy foreign aircraft,” Rep. Duncan Hunter, a California Republican whose committee must authorize funding for defense programs, said in a telephone interview…
Hunter said thousands of U.S. jobs were at stake as well as the health of the U.S. “defense industrial base” — companies that rely on Pentagon contracts.
In addition, Hunter said, it would fly in the face of U.S. foreign policy interests to reward countries like France and Germany, where much EADS production is based, who have not been “full partners” in the U.S.-declared war on terrorism.
“It sends the wrong message to allies who are shirking their rightful portion of the international defense burden,” he said, referring to the fraction of GNP devoted to defense spending.
To be honest, I have trouble arguing with this logic. I want the Air Force to get the best tankers for the best deal possible, but I’d rather they were American-built if at all possible.
It was never the KC-767 Tanker concept I was opposed to. It was the shameless ripping off the government and the US taxpayers that I took exception to.
It seems to me that if the Air Force REALLY wants new tankers and that Boeing REALLY wants to keep the 767 line running, a compromise will be reached that is agreeable to all. That’s what doing business is all about.
We’ll see. (via Free Republic)
UPDATE: A Freeper tips me off to the news that Boeing is planning to build a cargo version of the 777 and that
they are also looking at a tanker version of the plane.