EADS Wins

kc-45a tanker refueling f-22a raptor

Air Force dumps Boeing for Northrop, Airbus

Northrop Grumman and the maker of Airbus planes beat out Boeing Co. to win a $35 billion government contract to build military refueling planes, the Air Force said Friday.

I was telling someone yesterday that if the Europeans ended up winning, I was going to take it on faith that it was the right decision. My reasoning was that the KC-30 program must be better overall, because Boeing was the “easy” choice if the KC-767 was close. EADS, the “difficult” choice, would only get picked if there was a noticeable gap between the two programs.

Now if I could just believe it.

I’m thinking that maybe Boeing wishes that there hadn’t been so much corruption in the earlier KC-767 deals that ended up getting canceled, and I wonder how much (if any) of the reasoning behind this decision was to teach a lesson.

UPDATE: Northrop Grumman release: U.S. Air Force Selects Northrop Grumman to Provide the New KC-45A Aerial Refueling Tanker

So it’s the KC-45A. Well, bring it on. If this plane doesn’t knock everyone’s socks off, there’s going to be hell to pay. Murdoc’s optimistic, though will probably be unforgiving if it turns out to be a bad move.

UPDATE 2: From the comments:

Yeah, they’ll “manufacture” these tankers in Alabama just the same way I “manufactured” my kids bicycles in my living room on Christmas Eve.

Comments

  1. > Of all the double aisle aircraft in history, only the 747 has sold over 1000 units the 767 has over 1000 sales the 787 is close and it hasn’t even flow yet the A330+A340 have over 1000 sales (870+348=1218 by the end of 2007) (the A330/A340 family are often considered together since they have the same fuselage and same wing) > Currently the A330 has sold about 520 units try 870 > So instead of looking at this as a mere 12-18 craft per year, it is really 12-18 double aisle A330s per year, which is significant yes widebodies are more profitable than narrow-bodies, but not THAT much more profitable sure, another 12-18 widebodies is always a good thing, but it is not nearly as significant as you seem to think

  2. Irtusk, you are not going to change my opinion and I am not going to change yours. So I will not make further attempts. I just want to clarify where I got my numbers. I took my figures off wikipedia which counted deliveries and not total orders since they can be cancelled. I should have specified deliveries and not orders in my post. Just looking at deliveries the 767 comes in at under 1000. I believe the airbus figures where valid through end of 2007 and their figures for A340 deliveries was 347 and 515 for A330. So based upon deliveries, only the 747 has over 1000 for a double aisle jet.

  3. Irtusk, you are not going to change my opinion and I am not going to change yours. So I will not make further attempts. I just want to clarify where I got my numbers. I took my figures off wikipedia which counted deliveries and not total orders since they can be cancelled. I should have specified deliveries and not orders in my post. Just looking at deliveries the 767 comes in at under 1000. I believe the airbus figures where valid through end of 2007 and their figures for A340 deliveries was 347 and 515 for A330. So based upon deliveries, only the 747 has over 1000 for a double aisle jet.

  4. Here’s a nice little tidbit of information that I found in Aviation Week this week:

    About 16 months ago, the Air Force withdrew its tanker request-for-proposals — which included capabilities such as cargo, passengers and add-on mission like signals intelligence — to refocus it on the basic A-model task of in-flight refueling so that the primary mission would not be compromised. When Northrop threatened to pull out of the competition altogether, U.S. officials again changed the competition to add features – including extra credit for cargo and passenger carrying capabilities that aren’t required for the refueling mission. Those factors, which go toward providing the ‘more’ as described by Gen. Arthur Lichte, Air Force Air Mobility Command chief, during the tanker-winner announcement, tipped the choice toward Northrop and EADS. – Aviation Week

    So there you go. That’s the extra value the Scarebus brings to the table. They can carry more crap other than gas. The only problem is, they never use tankers for anything other than gas. They stay so busy doing that, they don’t have time to do anything else. All the additional cargo space does for them in reality is creates more cross secional drag, of which that pig has quite an excess. Yeah, none of this is political. It’s all based on the technical reuqirements – my ass!