I asked for feedback on the tanker decision and I got it. Also, vote in the poll at the bottom.
First, I received a some angry emails about figures suggesting Northrop Grumman's tanker could create more U.S. jobs than Boeing's (I'm not posting the email which used the "f-bomb").
From Craig L:
"More jobs would be created by NG/EADS/Airbus? What the hell have you been smoking?"
From Michael M.:
"Can N.G./Airbus prove just how many new jobs that they will bring or will the number just keep going up to make it look good? Given Airbus projections with all other U.S. contracts I just do not see this happening..."
From Randy S.:
"Your statement that the Airbus made--Northrop Grumman stickered--tanker would be made in Alabama and perhaps create more jobs is inaccurate. Even completely independent sources estimate both are overstating the job creation impact. Currently they both claim some 48,000 jobs created. In actuality, Boeing would support somewhere near 28,000 US jobs and the Airbus tanker would support slightly over 14,000 US jobs. That said, any implication that the plane would be a Northrop Gruman plane is a joke...We are the only country who seems to believe that outsourcing our technology and jobs is a good thing. Well, not when it comes to defending our country..."
On how John McCain might react to the GAO decision, Talitha wrote:
"He has no chance. This tanker deal was manipulated by him and his lobbyists."
From Steve V.:
"I think John McCain better wake up and look out for Americans. I think he did a very stupid thing. He sure lost face with me."
From Thu L:
"Does John McCain want to be French President ???"
Mark S. thinks the Pentagon has its priorities wrong:
"There has been too much inter-marriage between the USAF and Boeing in recent years. Yes, McCain was right on this issue. Boeing tried and failed to screw the government. (The) larger issue is the massive waste of fuel and money this mid-air tanker system is. We are not going to save anyone or anything with our ancient B52's flying around the world waiting to strike and burning mega doses of fossil fuels. Our Navy subs have more than enough tonnage to wipe all the humans off the Earth, if that is what we are destined to do. I'd rather put the money towards mining oil shale in Colorado and converting our domestic vehicles to Nat Gas, but I'm way out there."
From Jeff B. writes about the one item the GAO report did NOT broach--whether subsidies played an unfair role:
"We have lost many well paying jobs in the US through an intentional campaign by the Europeans to supply airplanes...This is a big $ program that should not go out of the US, even if it costs more in the US. All parts and services bought out of the US will cost more than bid, and will be rebid at a much higher prices if we go down the foreign supplier route. Don't go there..."
Ken P. is no Boeing fan:
"The bottom line is that the Air Force does not want the 767 as a tanker! The Japanese Self Defense Force has had theirs...and it still is not certified to pass fuel yet!! So what, is Boeing going to offer this time a 777 version? I think not. It would take Boeing at least 10 years to engineer, develop, and flight test this aircraft based on all of their problems with the 767 tanker. Our men and women in the service deserve to have this tanker now!"
David A. is not a fan either:
"I am a contract engineer in the aerospace industry and I have one question...How many lives of our men and women in uniform are Boeing, Sen. Patty Murray, Rep. Norm Dicks, and the Senators from Kansas willing to sacrifice to get their way?"
Tineke G. says Boeing airplanes have been consistently better:
"The USAF - EADS fiasco is the result of a shell game played by N-G to convince the Air Force that the A-330 would be built in the USA. Not in a million years. The wings are built in England, flown to France for installation on a fuselage built in Toulouse, with numerous other parts built in the other three Airbus consortium nations. It's the wrong airplane, built in the wrong place by the wrong people. The KC-767 is the right size, no need to rebuild maintenance hangars and wash rack to accommodate the outsized A-330. The skyrocketing price of fuel takes the A-330 into the stratosphere of cost, since it burns two tons more fuel PER FLIGHT HOUR than the KC-767..."
RJ refers to disgraced former Air Force procurement officer Darleen Druyun who went to prison in an earlier tanker deal involving Boeing:
"Let's go ask Darleen in jail which she likes? Boeing is nothing but a spoiled brat loser who thinks they are above the US Government and GOD...They will cheat and do crooked deals with the AF in secrecy then cry when the AF tries to re-bid the tanker contracts more fairly. I guarantee every procurement action performed today in the DOD may have some minor flaws contributing to their decisions. But that's the nature of the beast...My vote is on what's the 'BEST VALUE for our tax dollars for the military!' Boeing need to go on vacation."
On whether a foreign company should make US military planes, Lee says no:
"Many people don't want an EADS Tanker for many of the same reasons we don't want A-B to be bought by InBev. Very emotional decisions, and neither Boeing nor A-B need to do anything to convince us."
Russell L. disagrees:
"(It's) a little too much for me to understand why the press keeps underscoring the foreign (EADS) but failing to mention, after all this time, foreign content percentage if the contract goes to Boeing...I personally get tired of this foreign vs USA business. I wonder how many Boeing USA workers drive foreign cars, wear foreign produced clothes, eat imported food and buy all sorts of other foreign goods."
Jeffrey M mocks a pre-decision press release from Northrop Grumman:
"So, now that the GAO has not only upheld the Boeing protest, but done so as sharply as they are able, will N/G follow their own rhetoric?? I quote, 'It is our hope that anyone considering delaying this program any further, for any reason, would weigh their parochial desires against our shared patriotic duty to provide the new tanker to our men and women in uniform as soon as humanly possible.' So, following that line of logic, N/G should withdraw from the competition, regardless of their 'parochial desires' and do their 'patriotic duty' to get the tankers to the armed services as soon as possible; i.e. on the 767 airframe whose manufacturing infrastructure is already in place. So how about it N/G?? Or do you only feel patriotic when you feel the ball is in your court???"
Richard has a unique idea:
"How about take 25 current tanker pilots and let them fly the civilian version of the Boeing and the EADs aircraft and then let them decide via a 10 item rating system. They are the warfighters who will utilize these items. Get the politicians and the salesmen out of the decision making."
Note from Jane: of course, those civilian versions don't provide crews with the opportunity to test transferring fuel.
Questions? Comments? Funny Stories? Email firstname.lastname@example.org