The Department of Defense’s JROC (a joint requirement group) met to consider what to do about the next round of the KC-X tanker competition, and US Sen. John McCain threw cold water on the idea promoted by US Rep. John Murtha about a split buy between Northrop Grumman and Boeing.
Boeing has yet to deliver its first KC-767I to the Italians.
Boeing internally announced a reorganization of its Wichita Integrated Defense System ahead of a strike vote by the engineers union, SPEEA, that has an April 2 strike date.
Renewed contract negotiations collapsed earlier this week without an agreement.
Boeing “announces changes to the Wichita Engineering team, to include Product Support. This organizational change is in alignment with previously stated objectives to; double the Global Services & Support business within five years, execute on current work to meet customer expectations and financial objectives, and focus on performance and productivity,” to company said in a communication to employees.
Although Wichita is an IDS facility, SPEEA engineers also work on the development of the 747-8. A strike would affect work on this already-delayed program, now 9-12 months late. But SPEEA engineers have been told to prepare a transfer of engineering on the 747-8 to Boeing’s Moscow Design Engineering unit, we’re told.
Update, 3:30 PM: We just received this word from SPEEA about the Irving, TX, BAE Systems operation:
“We received notice that they are laying-off more than 500 people (out of 1000) and outsourcing the work to Mexico. This essentially wipes-out the SPEEA bargaining unit at the facility.”
BAE Systems is a supplier to Boeing and Airbus and, in 2008, ranked fifth as a contractor to the US Department of Defense. BAE Systems is a UK company.
(We can’t resist noting that for all those who complain about the prospect of Northrop Grumman/EADS/Airbus winning the tanker contract and shipping all those jobs “overseas,” noone seems to take any notice or care that BAE (#6 in 2007, now #5 in 2008) is a foreign company.)
The news that China’s AVIC is recruiting Western executive talent for its aerospace subsidiaries is alarming.
Long-time readers of this column and our main website know that we’re concerned about Western technology transfer by Airbus, Boeing, Bombardier and Embraer to China, Japan and Russia as the Big Four pursue outsourcing. We’ve seen each of these countries produce regional airliners and China and Japan announce plans for a 150-seat jet.
None of the regional airliners are likely to be commercial successes, but we think China’s ARJ-21 and Japan’s MRJ are probably proving grounds for the larger jets. Japan’s Heavy Industry that are industrial partners to Boeing’s 787 program openly said they are using 787 wing technology they developed for the MRJ and the planned 150-seat jet.
Update, February 27: Just kidding—
Curtis-Wright tells us their officials [m]ucked up and there is nothing to support the statements reported below, as extracted from their year-end 2008 earnings call. CW has no information regarding a rate reduction by Boeing this year.
What is especially troubling here is that CW did not put out a public statement correcting their error. Although CW followed up with calls to the aerospace analysts, the common shareholders of CW, Boeing and other suppliers relied on the earnings call and the transcript to make investment decisions. The failure of CW to make a public correction of this material error is highly irresponsible.
Boeing supplier Curtiss-Wright plans to provide Boeing with only 21.5 737 shipsets per month by the end of the year, from the current level of 31 a month.
The revelation was contained in the CW earnings call of February 18 and overlooked by the Boeing-focused media. (We were just returning from our submarine venture in the Atlantic and are only now catching up.)
Here is what CW said in its 2009 forecast:
In our commercial market, we expect to be flat. Commercial aerospace, we see flat shipments to Boeing year-over-year, because last year we shipped about 305 737s and we looked at commercial aerospace from a Boeing side, surely the 737 that drives our revenues and last year because of the strike, we shipped about 305. This year, we’re anticipating shipping around 315 and we expect the beginning of the year to be at 31 ship-sets a month for the first six months, and it then goes down to about 21.5 ship-sets for the last six months and we expect Airbus to be down.
The company added, in a response to a question: