Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Northrop-Airbus Dropping from Air Tanker Bid

One year ago I wrote about an air tanker bid that was awarded to Northrop and Airbus (technically EADS- Paris-based European Aeronautic Defence & Space).  The new tanker was to be built on the Airbus 330, a French aircraft.   Northrop was basically going to build the tanker boom and some avionics and Airbus was building the aircraft.  

My problem with the deal was that Boeing had submitted a lower bid that complied with the terms listed.  My bigger problem though was huge number of jobs and the money that would be going to France (Airbus/EADS), instead of to Americans (Boeing).  Also at that time, France had objected to EU Defense contracts being open to American companies.

There was a political uproar over the deal.  The GAO investigated and the USAF re-bid the contract.

Now, one year later, it finally looks like there will be a resolution favorable to American workers.  Northrop announced this week they are dropping from the tanker bid.   This appears to leave Boeing as the only bidder and the default winner of the contract

According to the Boeing bid, the new tanker will be built on the Boeing 767 airframe.   This is assembled in Wichita and Seattle. 

So, sometime this spring or early summer, the USAF will finally award the contract.  Hopefully this time, the new USAF tanker will be the KC-767 and will finally create American jobs instead of new jobs for France.

Boeing currently builds the KC-767 for both the Japanese Air Defense Force and the Italian Air Force in Wichita, Kansas.


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