Saturday, March 08, 2008

Ouch! Boeing's 767 Tanker Officially Tanked!

This had to hurt. After bleeding a little under a billion dollars on developing the KC-767 aerial refuelling tanker -- to replace, initially 179 of the USAF's 600-odd KC-135s -- the Boeing global tanker has been, well, tanked. By its own country and air force. To make matters worse -- and delectably juicy for journalists, presidential hopefuls, senators and the like -- the $35 billion super-contract has been handed to a partnership of American firm Northrop-Grumman and, shock-horror, EADS, parent company to Airbus, Boeing's worthy nemesis. This is stuff that has all the makings of an enormous story.

First, France. Second, the guy who ran roughshod on Boeing's tanker dreams in 2003 is none other than Senator John McCain. Both the Republicans and Democrats have scrambled to make it an election issue, obviously. The comments from a scattering of Reps harks beautifully back to our own Bofors days. Some see this as a logical end to the 2003 Boeing corruption scandal involving Darleen Druyun that effectively slapped KC-767 off its sureshot position for the contract. Others see it as an insidious French conspiracy to infiltrate American soil. I wonder how all this is going to be taken by the Indian government though -- I mean, the fact a large number of experts believe that Boeing ultimately lost the contract to the "enemy" because the government just couldn't reconcile an award with the alleged dirt of 2003.

Anyway, I thought I'd post some excerpts from a hilarious report by some fellow called Bob Leverknight in some small-town daily called the Daily American. This is hilarious stuff, but at least it says it like it is! Man, talk about paranoia. Read on:

Personally, I also feel that American workers, with sons, daughters, friends, and fellow Americans will do a better job building the aircraft that would keep them alive and coming home that a French, German, or Spanish worker will. Call it national pride. The KC-135s were made here. In a time when national pride (the mid-1950s, I told you it would come back) meant something. Not just price, and size.

I recall the outcry a few years back, when the Army changed from the camoflauge ball cap to that beret. The manufacture of same was outsourced to a firm in China, meaning that a potential enemy was supplying a military item to our troops. True, it was a hat, not a combat aircraft, but that was stopped, and the purchase was moved back to America. Let’s keep the United States Air Force flying American aircraft.


Ankur said...

Gotta love American standards - whether it is in selling arms or forcing "free market" globalisation down the throats of others.

Anonymous said...

I would hope that Indians would hold the same view that Indian forces should be equipped with Indian equipment.

The American POV that American troops should have "Made in America" equipment is worthy of emulation by the Indian forces.