TANKERS!….Northrop Grumman and EADS, the parent company of Airbus, have beaten out Boeing for a huge contract to provide aerial tankers to the Air Force. McClatchy reports the reaction:
“I am extremely disappointed in the Air Force’s decision to choose Northrup Grumman/EADS over Boeing to make the critical new aerial-refueling tanker. From the beginning, the Air Force vowed to have an open competition process,” said Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan. “I look forward to seeing their justification for this unfortunate outcome. If this decision holds, it will be at the cost of American jobs and American dollars, if not our national security.”
Huh. I wonder why Roberts is so bent out of shape. Let’s see if the LA Times has anything to say about this:
Boeing, which was considered the odds-on favorite because it built the tankers that are flying today, had planned to assemble its planes, based on its 767 passenger jet, in Everett, Wash., then ship them to Wichita, Kan., to modify them into tankers.
Ah. That explains it. Any other reaction?
In Paris, at the annual air shows, Airbus officials and Southern politicians proudly displayed the proposed European tanker offering and made the argument that if the United States wants to sell its weapons to European countries, it should also open its doors to foreign suppliers.
That’s mighty open-minded of those Southern politicians, isn’t it? Back to the LA Times:
In recent months, Northrop tried to burnish its bid by proposing to assemble the plane in Alabama [and Mississippi! Don’t forget Mississippi! –ed.]. Its initial plans called for the planes to be assembled in France before being shipped to Alabama to undergo tanker modifications.
Gotcha. Nothing new here, of course. Just thought it was worth pointing out that all huffery and puffery from congress critters about this deal should be taken even less seriously than usual. When it comes to military bidding wars, national security is about the last thing on their minds.