With the expectation that the USAF is going to announce its tanker award this week, we’re going to forego our Odds and Ends kick-off and deal with the tanker.
We’re going to try and synopsize many of the issues that are “out there” in cyber-land, to try and make some sense out of what sometimes seems to be a senseless process.
In no particular order, here we go:
Two top Defense Department officials today (Feb. 16) told a conference sponsored by Aviation Week magazine that the contract award for the KC-X could be made by the end of the month.
The buzz in Washington is that it will be after the stock market closed on Friday, Feb. 25.
The statements by the DOD officials are summed up nicely in this Defense News article.
At the same Aviation Week conference, the Pentagon’s top buyer, Ashton Carter, repeated remarks he made a week earlier at the Cowen & Co. aerospace and defense investors’ conference February 9. At the Cowen event, the headlines to come out of it were remarks made by Boeing CEO Jim McNerney about the prospect of proceeding with an all-new replacement for the 737.
The headline that did not come out of it was from a speech presented by the Pentagon’s top buyer, Ashton Carter. Elements of his speech did, indeed, make news. However, buried in his speech as the last topic were his comments about globalization and procuring key defense systems from non-US companies.
Is this laying the groundwork for selecting the EADS North America KC-45 tanker in the KC-X competition? DOD Buzz picked up on this, too, but well down its story.
Perhaps this is too much “Kremlinology” but carefully read his remarks:
We’re at Day 1 of the Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance conference in Lynnwood (WA) and at the Defense Focus Day co-organized by the Pacific Northwest Defense Coalition, consultant Michel Merluzeau of G2 Solutions (Kirkland, WA) predicted EADS will likely win the KC-X competition.
Before the Francophiles go crazy, Merluzeau favors Boeing’s KC-767.
With Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) set to hold the tanker hearing on Thursday (Jan. 27), it is clear the USAF continues to drag on its decision in the KC-X competition, which was expected this month. It now looks like March.
We’re going to ask a question that may be considered by some to be ridiculous on its face (and we’re not entirely sure it isn’t) but which, given all the twists and turns, starts-and-stops, hissy fits and more that’s happened in the painful saga of USAF tankers, we might ask, Why not ask this question?
Is failure an option?
Australian Aviation has this story about an in-flight incident during a refueling test between the Airbus KC-30A and an F-16. Readers will recall a Boeing KC-767J for Japan Air Defense Services had an incident in which the boom wouldn’t retract for landing and was damaged on the runway, the point being both programs have now suffered incidents.But the KC-30A incident will likely further delay delivery of the plane to the RAAF; it is already two years late. The timing couldn’t be worse for EADS, with the contract award for the USAF only weeks away.
- Bloomberg News followed with this story.
- FlightGlobal has this story.
- Meanwhile, there is this story that Boeing is taking a pass on bidding for the Indian government tanker contract. A second story says uncertainty over the USAF contract outcome is why. A third story has more detail.Defence Statement, 20 January 2011 from the RAAF: