We wonder what took Boeing so long to make this obvious point: France is protectionist in its defense purchases and should quit complaining about the KC-X competition in the US. See this Reuters story.
There has been more foo-faw going on with the KC-X tanker competition in the past week, largely overshadowed by the first flight of the Boeing 787. Supporters of Northrop Grumman met with Pentagon officials to urge that changes be made in the Draft RFP to assure a fair and open competition.
As soon as this became public, supporters of Boeing did the same.
Bloomberg quotes the CEO of Boeing Integrated Defense Systems as saying the USAF Draft RFP for the KC-X competition favors the smaller 767.
Boeing Says Tanker Request Favors a 767-Based Plane (Update1)
2009-12-03 16:13:59.557 GMT
By Gopal Ratnam
Dec. 3 (Bloomberg) — Boeing Co. defense chief Dennis Muilenburg said the U.S. Air Force’s requirements for a new aerial refueling tanker favor a 767-based airplane.
“It’s important for us to allow the customer to finalize the requirement, but if you look at the current request for proposals it would push us toward a 767-based plane,” Muilenburg said today at a conference sponsored by Credit Suisse Group AG in New York.
Airbus has said it before but it is worth reminding people that if Northrop Grumman follows through on its statement that it will not bid the KC-30 in the KC-X competition unless significant changes are made to the Draft Request for Proposals (DRFP), Airbus won’t build an A330-200F assembly plant on its own in Mobile (AL).
We checked with Airbus immediately after Northrop’s announcement and a spokesman confirmed that the company’s position has not changed: there is no “business case” for an A330F final assembly line (FAL) without the KC-30 tanker contract.
Inside Defense, a subscription-only publication, today reported that a former defense procurement official believes the current KC-X tanker Draft RFP may violate the law. Here is what Inside Defense sent out in the public domain:
Former Top Procurement Official Questions KC-X Compliance with New Acquisition Law
The Pentagon’s solicitation for the KC-X aerial refueling competition is inconsistent with the 2009 Weapon Systems Acquisition Reform Act and may violate the law, according to a former top federal procurement officer.
That critique, by Robert Burton, a former deputy administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement and Defense Department veteran, comes as a powerful lawmaker and a key architect of the recently enacted weapon systems acquisition reform law — Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) — is raising questions about whether the KC-X draft request for proposals, issued on Sept. 25, complies with the new act.