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Redwolf

Exact reasons to re-evaluate which tanker the USAF is going to buy?

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Is there some non-nonsense webpage somewhere that summarizes why exactly the Air Force has to re-evaluate whether to buy the Airbus or Boeing tankers?

No "because it's not American" nonsense, please. There's been specific reason where the air force wasn't able to use a pocket calculator properly, but it seems to be buried under speculation everywhere.

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Hmmm. who would have thunk it - politics involved! I think this sends a bad message to the world. When a contract has been bought it ought to stay bought. This message is vitally important for US relations with a lot of countries : )

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Thanks. Useful link.

It looks like the AF was unable to follow their own procedures (like any U.S. government agency it seems) and Boeing rightfully complained.

Leaving the falling dollar apart I don't see why Airbus is any worse off than before, they still got the same chances.

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My understanding is that Boeing lost the contract initially because it was caught bribing officials and whatnot on another program, resulting in a DQ on the tanker contract. Since the government seldom hands out more than a wrist slap (by their standards, at least) to major defense contractors, Boeing's now had time to "serve its sentence," paid the fines, rolled a few sacrificial heads and is again eligible. Naturally, it now wants another bite at the apple its own illegal actions DQed it from the first time around. I find it splendidly ironic that a firm which cheated is now playing rules lawyer.

Regards,

John Kettler

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Your understanding is a bit off John.

Boeing attempted to get themselves a no-competition contract that was subsequently proven to be very dodgy. In the wake of that, a new contract was drawn up which needed competition, hence Northrop Grumman and Airbus.

Unless this contract was something that NG stood a chance of winning, they wouldn't have taken part.

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Boeing did give an AF official a job, while the same official was working on the acquisition. Both the official and the responsible person at Boeing had to serve time I believe. On top of that, the contract was very favourable to Boeing, and less so to the US taxpayer. McCain pushed very hard for it to be ditched. This led to the re-bid, in which NG won.

All the best

Andreas

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It's impossible to make contracts of this scope unpolitical. Local or defense contractor "friendly" politicians would of course exert pressure for a US solution. Their voters or "backers" would demand so.

The danger of always giving contracts to US contractors will obviously lessen competition in the long run, with all the disadvantages that gives a buyer. If you give a few contracts to overseas contractors your military might save some billion dollars in the long run.

Everything is political. What is most important? US employment, govt organization needs (eg. AF) or price?

Norway and Denmark is in the process of buying new fighter planes these days. It was between the Eurofighter, F-35 and the Gripen. The Eurofighter - and the best choice for Norwegian needs in my opinion - withdrew because they felt the competition gave the US alternative unfair advantages. It's now between the Swedes and US. There's talks on government level about increasing the scandinavian defense co-operation. Sharing airfields, patrolling each others airspace/waters and general military integration.

For us it's not a question about what our airforce want. It's a question about what strategic alliances our politicians will make for the future. Our current labour government is however in a hurry. They're dead certain to loose the 2009 election to liberal-conservatives and that means a continued US dependance for Norway. It's all politics.

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In Australia we're slowly lessening our dependence on the US aerospace providers. Boeing has treated us very badly over the Wedgetail AWACs and so we've gone with the Airbus tankers. We've also opted for the Eurocopter after badly managed experiences with the Blackhawk and Seapsrite.

But the politicans are still slavering over the F-35, which is the really juicy contract. We'll have no pilots to fly them, of course...

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What? Are Australians giving up flying en masse? Or do you not have any trainers to train new ones in?

Michael

Defence force recruiting is down across the board. But I know they do have a particular problem getting people to sign up for pilot training. We have a massive shortage of civil pilots too, so they're are recruiting more aggresively and pulling in exisiting air force pilots and those who were considering pilot training via the RAAF. I think the RAAF is also looking at 'relaxing standards' in what they require for entry, but that's obviously a bit of a minefield.

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It's probably a time in service thing - I suspect they're getting just as many recruits for pilot training as ever - but they're only serving the minimum contract before heading to civilian riches, rather than a significant number of them doing a full 20 years as once was the case.

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Yes probably that as well. But they do seem to be heavily pushing it in their recruitment ads. Tech/engineering professions are also in major shortage. Not surprising when someone with say an electrical engineering qualification could be working in an iron ore project for maybe quadruple what they'd get in the Navy. We're at the point where we can barely scrape skeleton crews together for the frigates.

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