One of our readers, with the screen name OV-099, provided a comment on our Dewey Defeats Truman post calculating the possible prices on the KC-45 and the KC-767.
OV-099 has been a long-time poster and when the occasion arises, does in-depth analyses on financial terms. We’ve cross-checked his work with others and found his numbers-crunching to be pretty spot-on.
With that in mind, we asked OV-099 to take a final look at his original posting with the thought of elevating it to a primary post. He has slightly revised his numbers. What follows is his analysis of how much EADS and Boeing priced their KC-45 and KC-767 in the bids to the USAF. His analysis is below the jump.
Update, 1-:30 am: OV-099 has further refined his analysis; the update is below.
Our Odds and Ends this week:
- Airbus parent EADS has posted a job listing for an intern for one year to study open-rotor technology for a success to the A320. Airbus is working with GE and RR engines and–drum roll, please–NASA. Boeing contracts with NASA were, of course, subject of the European complaint against Boeing for illegal subsidies.
- Chet Fuller, the new SVP of sales, marketing and asset management for Bombardier Aerospace, gives a long interview about the CSeries with Francois Shalom of The Montreal Gazette in this story. It’s worth the read.
- Pratt & Whitney’s GTF engine is testing better than plan and ahead of schedule. Flight Global has this story and this one.
- Aviation Week has a good piece about the choices facing Boeing on the 737 issue.
- More than one reader suggests that politics played a role in the USAF awarding the the tanker contract to Boeing. There is no question that Rep. Norm Dicks (D-Boeing/WA) got the air force to change its life-cycle timeline from 25 years to 40 years in computing costs. Political or not, this was a correct action. The current tanker fleet has already flown 50 years and airplane life cycles are routinely 30-40 years in commercial passenger/cargo service. The additional period clearly worked to the disadvantage of the KC-45. We like this email we received: It’s all political. The south has thumbed its nose at this administration. This is the consequence. I don’t think the Air Force or SECDEF could sell giving a $35B award to a foreign country that involves creating jobs in the south. Our politicians (and unions!) played this well.
We think this is a gross over-simplification of what happened, but it’s a pretty good, if cynical, take on things. The Joplin (MO) Globe looks more closely at the life-cycle cost equation.
- The Everett Herald has a pretty good understanding of how Boeing won in this article.
- Aviation Week has this superb article on the tanker contest.
- Defense News analyzes whether EADS will protest.
- Embraer opened a business jet assembly plant in Florida. Hondajet has a similar plant in the Carolinas. Airbus was willing to do a plant in Alabama. While Boeing was outsourcing the 787 overseas, other companies were finding the US a good place to do business. Makes you think.
Richard Aboulafia of the Teal Group said it best: the upset Boeing win over EADS in the KC-X tanker contest is the “Dewey Defeats Truman” moment of this contest.
For those who don’t know this reference, see here.
Aboulafia predicted EADS would win. So did Michel Merluzeau of G2 Solutions in Kirkland (WA). And Loren Thompson, a paid Boeing consultant. We did, too. So did Daniel Tsang of Aspire Aviation and even the Boeing shills in Europe did.
Boeing officials thought they were going to lose and so did its supporters in Congress.
In a previous post, we opined that whoever lost the KC-X contract should accept the decision and let the Air Force move forward with the award without a protest.
We reiterate this view now.
Throughout the competition, EADS praised the USAF for its fair and open process, and its integrity, and when the Air Force inadvertently passed on company information to Boeing and EADS that belonged to each other, EADS praised the USAF for handling the mistake properly.
Boeing has been awarded the contract for 179 KC-X tankers.
What are the ramifications?
Is this contest over?
As we noted in a previous post, not necessarily. A protest can follow. EADS has said it won’t unless it finds something “egregious” in the process, which it has commended so far. But don’t consider it a given that EADS won’t find reason to protest. Still, we think it unlikely based on what we know today.
Why wouldn’t EADS protest?
EADS sorely wants the contract. It would be a huge boost toward its goal of reaching $10bn a year in Pentagon contracts, from $1.5bn today. But by competing for the KC-X contract at the Pentagon’s request to do so, it built up a lot of good will for future contracts. There would be little to gain from a protest.
Will Congress go along? There is a strong EADS contingent.
That’s all it is, a contingent. There aren’t enough EADS supporters to force a reversal. They still could block an award, but if EADS doesn’t put up a fight, it’s unlikely they will, either.
The timeline of what’s next is listed in this post. As the cliche goes, “it ain’t over until the fat lady sings.”