- Side note: While EADS and Boeing fight over the USAF tanker contract, and neither one is capable of delivering their respective tankers on time, IAI Bedek of Israel completed conversion of the Boeing 767-200ER (the same airplane Boeing is using) into a tanker in short time and it is now offering the the airplane for lease to other countries. See this Flight Global article.
In a press conference January 20 in Everett (WA) at the Boeing factory, Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Boeing/WA) leveled a charge against EADS which, if true, would cast a huge question over the handling of proprietary data mistakenly provided by the USAF to EADS and Boeing.
EADS January 21 denied Cantwell’s allegation that EADS had the data for more than a month. The allegation, if it were true, has all sorts of implications, and all of them bad for EADS. Here is Cantwell’s allegation:
What steps were taken to ensure EADS did not gain an unfair competitive advantage by having Boeing data for more than a month before the investigation was completed by the Air Force?
We talked with Cantwell’s press secretary, Janeen Heath, January 22 to ask the basis on the allegation that EADS had the information for more than a month. Heath said, “We received that information from a reliable source, and that’s a question to be answered at the [January 27] hearing.” We asked if the information came from the Air Force or from Boeing, and Heath said she did not have this information.
Here is EADS’ denial, with respect to the charge EADS had the Boeing data for more than a month:
Responsible members of the defense industry understand that when someone becomes aware that they’re in possession of competition sensitive information they must immediately secure it, protect it, and return it to the customer. This was done by us, and according to the USAF, apparently by Boeing as well.
The assertion that EADS held competition sensitive information for over a month is simply untrue and flatly contradicted by the Air Force’s forensic investigation and analysis.
This latest event reinforces our previously stated view that a hearing by Sen. Carl Levin (referred to in the press release below) is appropriate. The Air Force, EADS and Boeing say they each handled the situation according to federal law and Air Force rules, but in the absence of a clear, detailed and full disclosure of the timeline of events and procedures followed, the cloud that hangs over this procurement is dark and threatens the entire process. We believe that all three parties must testify before Levin’s committee to get all the facts and information out in the open. Once this is done, let the chips fall where they may–if there is any reason for any to fall at all.
Below is Cantwell’s full press release. The bold facing is hers. The Levin hearing is January 27 at 9:30 AM EST.