Posts Tagged ‘kc-777’

The Boeing Co. Gets Another Shot at Corporate Welfare with Air Tanker Contract

Monday, September 15th, 2008

Say what you will about Chicago-based (and formerly Seattle-based) Boeing Company‘s ability to field a competetive replacement for the U.S. Air Force’s (basically) obsolete KC-135 air tanker fleet, but it sure knows how to kill a contract it doesn’t like.  

There’s no question that continuing production of the 767 would be good for Boeing and its workers, but would that be good for America? That’s the question of the day. Of course Boeing could rework the popular 777 or (soon to be popular, despite what Dan Rather says) 787 into a tanker, but those planes are selling well these days. If the best reason to buy the KC-767 is just to employ Boeing workers then that smacks of corporate welfare, does it not?

Yet another aging Boeing 767 put out to the boneyard. Now it might make sense to buy one used and fly it around as a wide-bodied corporate jet, as the founders of Google do, but what’s the logic behind cobbling together a new 767 FrankenTanker or modifying a 767-400? Click to expand:

via the Photostream of Danny McL

Now back in 2004, Senator john McCain:

“…intimated that Boeing’s problems were its own making, referring to last month’s guilty plea by former Boeing executive Darleen Druyun, who admitted talking to Boeing about a job during the time she served as an Air Force negotiator on the tanker proposal.

I’m sure it was Airbus that motivated Ms. Druyun to negotiate with Boeing for a job. I’m sure they were behind that. I think it’s hilarious.”

Is the only way out of this mess a compromise deal where EADS gets half the contract and Boeing gets the other? Stay tuned.

Air Tanker Wars – Boeing Pulls a Rabbit out of the Hat

Saturday, June 21st, 2008

Well, despite the naysayers and against the odds, the General Accounting Office has just determined there were “significant errors” in the process used to pick the best replacement for the Air Force’s aging KC-135 air tanker fleet.

Or course, the boys and girls in blue still want the Airbus 330-based Northrop Grumman KC-30 / KC-45 instead of the Boeing 767-based KC-767. But Boeing has its supporters, like the Center for Security Policyvarious Senators, and others, so things will get delayed some more. 

Feel free to take a long drink of Kool-Aid from Family Security Matters, but don’t expect them mention stuff like this or this. Heavens no.

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Let’s all agree any KC-X proposal will be a big improvement over the existing KC-135 Stratotanker, the newest of which is 43 years old.

If Boeing had a newer design that was closer to the size of the A330, then things might be different. One of their employees makes some points about this here. Why not just use the newer 777? It’s too big? Or maybe it’s too popular? It sure would be nice for Boeing if they could pull off rigging up a 767 Frankenplane to sell to the U.S. military and then keep the 777 for the civilian market, wouldn’t it?

Boeing folks seem to think they know more about what the Air Force wants than the actual Air Force itself. Oh well.

The longer this replacement program gets put off the worse things get, if anyone over at Boeing cares.

Based on laughable press releases like this, they might not care.  

Air Force Wants Old Boeing Plane, But Just Doesn’t Know it Yet

Wednesday, March 19th, 2008

This KC-135 variant is smaller than an old-school Boeing 707 and older than Methuselah. These 135s are getting expensive to keep on the road.

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The U.S. Air Force needs a new tanker and it thinks it wants an Airbus. But according to Boeing, what the Department of Defense really needs is a modified 767. Sure, it doesn’t carry as much fuel, but it has something special: “genius”. That’s right, those who rejected the Boeing Frankenplane “failed to comprehend the inherent manufacturing genius of the 767 bid.”

Well, O.K. then.

Boeing has a great history and the new 787 looks awesome. But that doesn’t mean that any old plane that Boeing can put together will be the best fit for the Air Force.  

Assigned reading: UPI’s Defense Focus: Air tanker war, Parts One, Two, and Three