Friday, March 14, 2008

How Boeing lost the USAF tanker contract (AvWeek)

Monday morning quarterbacking from Boeing. "There was a difference between what the Air Force talked about publicly and the way we read the Request for Proposal ," said Boeing's President Jim Albaugh. Sounds like the Boeing guys didn't get out of the office and schmooze with the customer. Airbus offered the A330 which is a bigger airplane than the 767 that Boeing offered. The Air Force has said they selected the A300 for the bigger payload and longer range. Boeing could have offered the 777 which is a big as the A330, maybe bigger but didn't. They also could have offered both airplanes but didn't want to fund two bid teams, and feared that two teams would compete with each other. That last doesn't make sense, competition is how you get a superior product.
Then Boeing didn't bid the well proven in production version of the 767. Instead they proposed an "improved" aircraft composed of a 767-200 fuselage, overwing exits from the 767-300, structural beefup from the 767-300F freighter model, and cockpit, tail section and flaps from the 767-400 ER extended range model. Speaking as an old USAF flightline maintenance officer, I'd rather have the straight commercial version so I can get parts from regular civilian sources and maybe even get depot level maintenance done at civilian facilities, and use civilian owned flight simulators for crew training.
Boeing's Albaugh claimed their pricing was as good as Airbus ($35 billion) for the first 179 aircraft. Industry sources say Boeing "was unresponsive" to Air Force requests for parts prices for fear that their airline customers could drive harder bargains once they knew what Boeing paid for things like engines.
Boeing lost the enormous F35 Joint Strike Fighter job to Lockheed, and now the tanker contract to Airbus. They had better get the 787 into production real soon now

No comments: