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Edited by Christian Lowe | Contact

Some New Tanker Gouge

KC-45.jpg

Ok, so I met today with a senior Northrop Grumman official who chatted with me about the ongoing Tanker Tango from the NorGrum/EADS perspective.

Sure, a lot of the conversation was about KPPs this, and job opportunities that. But he dropped a couple news tidbits I thought I'd throw your way.

First of all, the official told me the Air Force had formally submitted a request to the GAO to throw out the Boeing protest on Wednesday.

This is different from an earlier request to dismiss. That one concerned issues Boeing had brought up in their protest that the Air Force considered invalid, such as WTO conflicts and government subsidies.

GAO rejected that request for dismissal, so the Air Force compiled its case against the Boeing protest on the merits of the company's specific allegations, this official told me. The service has asked the GAO to dismiss the protest in its entirety.

I asked for a copy of the AF protest, but couldn't get it because the companies need to redact any proprietary information before it can be released.

Second, and kind of along the same lines, it turns out the Air Force, stung by the last tanker implosion that forced its secretary out of office and jailed two Boeing officials, Red Teamed the heck out of the tanker award before it was announced. I've been thinking all along that it seems to me the Air Force wouldn't risk a mis-dotted "i" or an un-crossed "t" given its previous experience.

Well, the NorGrum official told me that for a month and a half, the Air Force convened a Red Team of the Army and Navy's top procurement officers, staffers from Pentagon acquisition chief John Young's office and Pentagon IG officials at Wright Patterson Air Force base. The team was tasked with poking holes in the contract process to make sure there could be no protest from either side on how the Air Force handled the competition.

So it seems, on the face of it, that if proponents of the protest are trying in some way to impugn the Air Force on a slip shod process, assuming this Red Team happened, it doesn't hold much water.

Again, I just thought I'd pass along the info. And, I'd be happy to speak with Boeing's tanker team any time to get their side of the story if they offer.

-- Christian

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Posted by: 弓弩 at September 14, 2008 06:28 AM


RE:"the fact that the GAO didn't throw out parts of Boeing's protest"....

IMHO means absolutely nothing as to the merits of the protest. I believe this thing will go to the very end of the deadline, as any decision made by the GAO early could always open them up to criticism for not taking their review role seriously enough by whichever party the GAO comes down against. The AF motions are just a way of capturing all the interested parties' inputs within the GAO review documentation for posterity and the lawsuits. The GAO will tiptoe becuase they have to: even with the renaming, the GAO still doesn't have a truly descriptive moniker. It should be called the Congressional Accounting Office, and they aren't going to torque off their bosses, right or wrong.

Posted by: SMSgt Mac at April 18, 2008 08:24 PM


> Back in 2001/2002 it was a "no brainer" as the only other "competition",
> a A330-200-based tanker was a "non starter" because (among other
> things) it is too big & too heavy.

no, it was a 'non starter' because they didn't bribe the right officials like Boeing did

Posted by: irtusk at April 18, 2008 02:26 PM


Harlequin,

No I do not work for Boeing & as I have said before whether the KC-X is built by Boeing or not is not my issue. My issue is that a 767-based tanker is the right tanker to replace the KC-135. Back in 2001/2002 it was a "no brainer" as the only other "competition", a A330-200-based tanker was a "non starter" because (among other things) it is too big & too heavy.

It is the the KC-30/NG/EADS Kool-Aid drinkers who have engaged in the counterintelligence program. They deliberately (or out of ignorance) over simplify &/or misrepresent the facts & issues.

Posted by: pfcem at April 18, 2008 02:17 PM


Well, of course a Northrup official is going to assure anyone he talks to that the deal was completly fair and water tight. I highly doubt the GAO will grant the Air Force's request to throw out the protest after denying the previous motion, and the fact that the GAO didn't throw out parts of Boeing's protest leads me to believe that whatever Boeing is telling the GAO, it's bringing at least some of its members on to Boeing's side.

Posted by: C4Casey at April 18, 2008 09:14 AM


"Enlightned dictatorship, or rather, Enlightened Communism fairs no better..."

Sadly, agreed. But you'll have to admit free market economy isn't 'free' as well; that would mean the best or cheapest gets picked, end.

That doesn't happen when the loser throws a fit and starts lawsuiting the winner. And I'm not just talking tankers here, see the previous M16 vs. H&K; debate here. There's a lot of non-economic but political faces to the story. It smells of protectionism, which is arguably one form of communism.

Nothing is perfect. Not even me.

Posted by: Speartip at April 18, 2008 08:48 AM


RE 'Tis NOT sad to see as pfcern, whether he works for Boeing or not, has been the only one that makes the most technical sense whereas the rest have not presented anymore than technical garbage.

Gyro drift and do-looping = 'technical sense'?
Good one!

Wait....you were serious?

Example please. (AKA "Pull!")

PS: 'Red Teamed' is an extremely well known euphemism in aerospace/defense that in this case means they had a disinterested party try to poke holes in their decision, logic and process before finalizing the award.

Posted by: SMSgt Mac at April 18, 2008 08:33 AM


"enlightened dicatorship"

Enlightned dictatorship, or rather, Enlightened Communism fairs no better as it impedes technological progress and leads to compromising safety in order to keep updated. No dictator should singly have all power but rather if it should be, a dictator that shares power with a small (again, SMALL) council of state. Unless he is a Benevolent Dictator, he will accomplish nothing good for himself or his nation.

Free enterprise is not inferior as it weeds out the weaklings.

Posted by: WR at April 18, 2008 08:00 AM


'Tis NOT sad to see as pfcern, whether he works for Boeing or not, has been the only one that makes the most technical sense whereas the rest have not presented anymore than technical garbage. (and I work for Boeing's competitor as a defense mechanical engineer.) This is not to say that he makes the most non-technical (politics, etc.) sense.

Posted by: WR at April 18, 2008 07:55 AM


Its quite sad to see that , from all the comments posted over the last few weeks , pfcem is engaged in a CONINTELPRO and works for boeing.

Posted by: Harlequin at April 18, 2008 06:52 AM


Jeez... what useless discussions.

That's what you get with your free-market democracy. I say a enlightened dicatorship is better.

Me dictator, me say what goes. If I say airforce buy tanker X, then end of discussion. If other firm protests, let them stick their plane where the sun don't shine. Case closed.

And what is it with you Americans only wanting to buy US stuff? I mean, if your stuff is best, why not close off your borders and revel in your excellence? It's a f*ing PLANET, people. We're all brothers.

Posted by: Speartip at April 18, 2008 06:06 AM


Why should we be shocked to have US buying european derived aircraft?

Most of the dollar-value is US made. It comes from allies that have spent and spend a huge amount of money in US military equipment.

Strategic reasons? We are not talking about F22 or the B1s. And most of tech there is US Northrop Grumman made anyway...
http://www.metacafe.com/watch/259220/kc_30_tanker_aircraft/

Posted by: ibig at April 18, 2008 05:14 AM


Pardon my ignorance, but what does "Red Teamed" mean in relation to this?

Posted by: WR at April 18, 2008 05:05 AM


> But seriously I have another theory. Basically the USAF did what it was
> told & is just waiting (hoping actually) for the GAO to tear this contract apart

i like to visit imaginationland occasionally

i wouldn't want to live there all the time

Posted by: irtusk at April 18, 2008 01:53 AM


I'm going to play the KC-30/NG/EADS Kool-Aid drinkers game here...

Its from a senior Northrop Grumman official so OBVIOUSLY it is total propaganda BS with NO merit whatsoever. ;)

***

But seriously I have another theory. Basically the USAF did what it was told & is just waiting (hoping actually) for the GAO to tear this contract apart [think like so many had hoped that the US Supreme Court would stop McCain-Feingold]. Then the USAF can say "we did what your wanted so now thanks to YOU we waisted 4 years & millions of dollars. And now that it is known all that we HAD to do just to make the KC-30 competative we can go back to aquiring the 767-based tankers which were so OBVIOUSLY the right choice to replace the aging KC-135s back in 2002."

Posted by: pfcem at April 17, 2008 10:35 PM


AF should, all the services should actually, be red-teaming [b]every[/b] major contract like that. Why not?

Posted by: Penta at April 17, 2008 04:37 PM


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