commentary on Politics and a little bit of everything else

Alabama's Congressmen join the push for the New Aerial Tanker contract…..

From the Hill……

Last week it was a group of Governors pushing for a Boeing Tanker….This week it’s a push for Northrop-Gruman version……

And the accusation that the bid is rigged for Boeing smaller aircraft….

The Dog wonders what the fuss is about…award a joint build …The Air Force currently has two tankers…..The KC-10 (From the DC-10 and it’s big) and the KC-135 (from the old B-707) …why not just do the same with the bigger A-330 Airbus from Northrop and the smaller B-767 from Boeing?…..

End of headache…….Simple…..

Here’s the story and link……….………

Alabama lawmakers on Wednesday voiced strong pessimism over Northrop Grumman’s chances of winning a contentious Air Force refueling aircraft contract, questioning the fairness of the bidding process.

“This is a disappointment,” Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), a senior defense authorizer, said after emerging from a briefing with senior Pentagon and Air Force officials. “I am really worried at this point” that Northrop Grumman would not compete for the contract, he said. “I am going to urge them to compete, and I hope that they feel like they can.”

Deputy Secretary of Defense William Lynn, Pentagon acquisition chief Ashton Carter and Air Force Secretary Michael Donley made the rounds on Wednesday briefing lawmakers on the final bidding terms for the $35 billion contract to build 179 refueling aircraft.

Northrop Grumman and Boeing have been going head to head for several years to win the lucrative contract. The two companies and their congressional supporters have been locked in an intense public-relations and lobbying battle.

In December, after reviewing a draft request for proposals, Northrop Grumman threatened to pull out of the competition unless significant changes were made to the final request for bids. Northrop Grumman officials argued that the bidding process was stacked against the company.

Northrop, teamed with EADS North America, would assemble the new aircraft in Mobile, Ala., while Boeing has major operations in Washington state and Kansas. EADS is the parent company of Airbus, Boeing’s rival on the commercial aircraft market.

But Sessions said he saw no fundamental changes to the bidding criteria. He said that the way the request for proposals is structured, it would still favor a smaller airplane — the 767 Boeing is expected to offer is much smaller than the Airbus 330 that the Northrop team was planning.

Sessions charged that the Pentagon was not entering into a fair selection process.

“The integrity of the Department of Defense is at stake,” Sessions said.

Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) said the Pentagon briefing did not “really calm” his concerns that the Pentagon addressed the problems raised by Northrop Grumman.

“I do not think it looks promising” for Northrop to win the contract, Rogers said. “I am not optimistic.”

He said his biggest concern is that the Pentagon has closed out any prospect of buying planes from both companies.

Lynn told lawmakers the Pentagon made 230 changes from the draft request for proposals, but “retained the overall structure of the requirements.” The most significant change in the final bidding request is the pricing strategy for the tankers, in effect to adjust for inflation.

February 25, 2010 - Posted by | Aircraft, Blogs, Breaking News, Government, Media, Military, Other Things, PoliticalDog Calls, Politics, The Economy, Travel, Updates | , , ,

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