Pentagon officials will review a $40 billion Air Force program to buy 179 jet-refueling planes on Feb. 22, more than a week later than expected, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Defense Department said on Monday.
The meeting of the Defense Acquisition Board, headed by chief Pentagon weapons buyer John Young, had already slipped to Feb. 13 from late January.
Is there any reason to hope that a decision will be coming soon?
With the Air Force ready to award a rich contract for a new fleet of tanker planes, the two bidders — Boeing Co. and the team of Northrop Grumman Corp. and Airbus — are engaged in guerrilla marketing.
Pentagon rules limit communications between the bidders and the Department of Defense officials who will select a winner. The companies get around this restriction by sending blast e-mails to reporters and trade journals widely read by Air Force officials and by advertising in specialty publications, on buses and subways, and local radio stations.
The flurry of news releases and various news stories has been entertaining, if nothing else. Examples:
Boeing plans to deliver the first two of four KC-767 air tankers to Italy by the end of June 2008.
Boeing said in a statement last week that it was “building four KC-767s for Italy with delivery of the first two tankers in the second quarter of 2008. To date, Boeing has logged more than 350 flights accumulating more than 1,000 flight hours on the KC-767.”
Boeing’s plane is about to go live. Unmentioned is the fact that this schedule is lagging far behind.
His role in killing an air tanker lease deal could make the firm wary of how it might fare if he’s elected
Oooo, be careful! If McCain is elected, Boeing might suffer. Better go EADS.
U.S. company Boeing said last week its KC-767 had carried out its first successful night refueling operation.
Boeing said in a statement that its KC-767 air tanker program made history Jan. 26 “when one if its aircrews successfully transferred fuel from a KC-767 tanker aircraft to an F-15E at night — the first nighttime refueling ever accomplished on a KC-767.”
Again, we’re looking at a Boeing product that is just about ready to go. And, again, no mention of the fact that it was supposed to be just about ready to go years ago.
Precisely because of the open nature of this competition, I can state confidently that Boeing, with its 75 years of experience building tankers, has put forward a superior proposal. Not insignificantly, the Boeing plan keeps production in the United States and hundreds of jobs in Kansas rather than making the program dependent on a foreign supplier.
A Senator from a state where a lot of the work will be done on one competitor coming out for that competitor’s plane? What a coincidence!